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Our Alumni – University of Reading

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  • What our graduates think

Our Alumni

Find out more about undergraduate studies at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

BSc Agriculture

Dave Rabbich (resized)Name: Dave Rabbich

Programme: BSc Agriculture

Job title: Field and Scheme Manager

Working for: Agri Evolve Uganda Ltd.

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in July 2017 with a BSc in Agriculture, which allowed me to follow my aspirations and move to tropical Africa to work within certification.

Based in the Rwenzori Mountains, in Western Uganda, I work for Agri Evolve Uganda Ltd, a UK run supplier of washed and natural Arabica coffee, which is sold around the world. The company buys coffee at different stages of processing from smallholder farmers in the Rwenzori Mountains, as well as running trials to compare different treatments.

As a Field and Scheme Manager, I am responsible for our Field Officers and the processing facilities. However, outside of the buying season I coordinate the Universal Trade Zone (UTZ) certification of both small holder farmers and our processing facilities.

I greatly enjoy the variety of locations in which I am able to work in and I am often spread out between the office, the factory and up in the mountains visiting smallholder coffee producers. Being able to vary my working environment means that every day is different, and I am able to utilise all the skills which I learnt during my degree.

I chose to study at the University of Reading because of its high ranking in the league tables and its green spacious campus. It was a great place to study and the content covered in my chosen modules has proved invaluable, especially the lectures regarding highland smallholder production systems and how to organise experimental trials, collect data and interpret it - it is most useful in my job today.

The flexibility of modules allowed me to tailor my degree to my personal interests, and overall I had a great experience and made some brilliant friends throughout my time at Reading. I also undertook a placement with LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), as a LEAF Intern, during my studies which is where I first gained my interest in certification, as well as learning about data collection and analysis in a working environment.

Since leaving university my greatest achievement has been my move to Africa and securing the management position that I aspired to during my time at Reading.

 

Alana DeaconName: Alana Deacon

Programme: BSc Agriculture

Job title: Canes Harvest Manager

Working for: Hall Hunter Partnership (HHP), Chichester, West Sussex

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2016, with a BSc Agriculture, and I am now working for the largest soft fruit company in the UK.

The Hall Hunter Partnership (HHP) produces 7,287 tonnes of strawberries, 3,388 tonnes of raspberries, 458 tonnes of blackberries and 1,424 tonnes of blueberries a year. The company is made up of seven production sites, which includes four traditional farms and three glasshouse sites. We primarily sell our produce to Waitrose and M & S however, and occasionally to Tesco.

As a Harvest Manager I am responsible for the organisation of harvest and the management of 500 staff, whilst also ensuring that our key performance indicators (KPI's) are achieved. As part of this I am accountable for harvest within the glasshouses and in the field, establishing crop timings, crop volumes, potential issues, and profiles of the crops, as well as labour planning.

In addition, I have to organise long-term and short-term logistical aspects of harvest; establish budgets and productivity targets to ensure they're met at the end of the season; forecast three week crop volumes; ensure that the fruit picked meets the quality requirements in accordance with supermarket specifications, and are handled in a correct way that ensures a high quality product and a prolonged shelf life; and work closely with team leaders to allow them to be self-sufficient.

I really enjoy the people management part of my role, as well as having to be forward thinking when issues arise. No two days are the same on the farm, which means that I am kept on my toes in this fast paced department. I also get to enjoy the sun in the summer and be in the Greenhouse during the winter.

Whilst studying at Reading I aspired to be a Managing Director of a large company like the one I work for now. I have been working here for two years, and have had two promotions already so I believe my goal is reachable.

The business, human resource and horticulture modules have been the most beneficial after graduation. Each of the business modules that I took helped me to learn a lot about management, and budgets which are skills that are used on a daily basis regardless of the industry. The HR modules helped me to understand and manage people, and the skills to be a good manager. However, the horticulture module helped me the most as this is where I learnt about the growing aspect of soft fruit. Professor Paul Hadley, was my biggest mentor at University, and we are still in contact today as we are in the same industry and exchange ideas.

I chose Reading as out of all the Universities I viewed it suited my personality the best. The smaller class sizes meant that you were able to get to know your classmates and lecturers. There was also a very broad range of modules available, which enabled me to choose topics which were aligned with my interests. It also had a great balance between social life and working life, being situated on a beautiful green campus.

Overall, my time at Reading was very positive, the lecturers were extremely helpful, and the practical elements of the course enabled us to see the different techniques and areas of the agriculture industry.

 

George DrewettName: George Drewett

Programme: BSc Agriculture

Job title: Partner; and farm business owner

Working for: The Farm Consultancy Group

With over ten years of experience in the field, I am now a Partner of the Farm Consultancy Group, and the owner of my own farming business, in which my degree at Reading gave me the necessary skills to kick-start my career.

After graduating from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD) in 2007 with a BSc in Agriculture I went on to work as a Consultant for The Farm Consultancy Group. In 2014 I became partner of the group, alongside running my own farming business which includes 350 acres of crops, a sheep flock and a dairy contract rearing enterprise.

The Farm Consultancy Group provides farm business consultancy advice to farmers to help in tasks such as planning, grants, subsidy and stewardship. My job involves meeting the clients to discuss their projects, and with staff to provide ongoing support with their workload and current projects. Due to the expanding nature of the business I really enjoy the flexibility and busy nature of my work.

The roles that I am currently in perfectly match the career aspirations that I had when studying Agriculture at SAPD, as I now utilise all of the practical and business skills that I learnt during my degree within the workplace. Being able to tailor my degree to my interests has opened up many new opportunities, especially in business, as well as providing me with an understanding of agriculture and a broad background in policy. Putting the theory that I was learning into practice through Case Study's and practical sessions was always my favourite part of my degree!

I chose to study at Reading due to the diversity of its student base, unlike many other universities that offer Agriculture I was able to study with students that were interested in a multitude of other subjects different from my own. Not only did I learn a lot, but the social side of studying at Reading enabled me to meet lots of new people, many of which I am still in contact with now.

Looking back, becoming a partner of the consultancy business whilst also continuing to expand my farming business is my biggest achievement since leaving University.

 

Ed Whitton (resized)Name: Edward Whitton

Programme: BSc Agriculture

Job title: Agronomist

Working for: St Helena Government, St Helena

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2007, and now work for the Government in St Helena as an Agronomist in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.

My role involves providing advice to the Island's producers, with the aim of helping the farmers increase production in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

The aspect I enjoy most about my role is the huge amount of variety. The role gives me the freedom to adapt and develop novel and creative approaches to deal with age old agricultural problems.

Until February 2019 I spent 11 years working as an arable Farm Manager in the UK. Due to the education I received at the University of Reading, I was able to take advantage of opportunities as they arose and quickly achieved my "dream" job of managing a large arable farm in the South West of England.

Studying at Reading not only qualified me technically to work in the industry I wanted, but also - and perhaps more importantly - gave me innumerable skills, many of which I didn't realise I was learning at the time! The wide ranging topics covered by the course provided me with a great grounding across the vast span of agriculture; I (unexpectedly) even enjoyed the economics modules! The process of completing a dissertation was also immensely satisfying. We had a great camaraderie within the course and during my time at university I made lifelong friends.

I chose the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development because of its reputation in agriculture. Being a research based institution gave the University of Reading gravitas in my mind! Unlike other universities offering agriculture it is not the main focus of Reading, which encourages a culture that is more diverse than some of its competitors.

I have had a couple of opportunities to return to the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development since I left, and have continually been impressed and grateful of the interest staff have shown in my career as well as the help and advice they have provided. Being an alumni of the University of Reading is a valuable resource!

Image of Luke Cox.Name: Luke Cox

Programme: BSc Agriculture with Industrial Placement

Job title: Farm Trader

Working for: Frontier Agriculture

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2018 with a BSc in Agriculture, and now work for the UK's leading crop production and grain marketing business.

Frontier Agriculture, operates across all aspects of arable crop production and grain marketing. Supplying seed, crop protection products and fertiliser to farmers, as well as providing specialist agronomy advice through our team of 160 agronomists.

As a farm trader I communicate with customers to keep them up to date on market information, ranging from fluctuations in the grain markets, to new and exciting varieties of grain being added to the Recommended List for the new season. It is important that I have a good understanding of factors which affect the markets, with variable weather and political events the primary causes of large changes. As a farmer myself, I relish in this information and the ability to relay it to customers. Rather than just being a trade contact for the accounts I look after, I enjoy searching for products and services which suit individuals, so I can be part of the progression and development of their personal businesses.

Whilst studying at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development I was always looking to learn more about opportunities within the industry away from my family farm. My current position reflects this aspiration, because it allows me to maintain a close connection with the industry and enables me to develop the skills and knowledge I gained during my degree.

Studying at the University of Reading provided me with a range of opportunities within the course, which led to a host of contacts that will assist me in my future career. Throughout the course I experienced the diversity of the agriculture industry - from the study tour in my first year to growing a wheat crop and marketing it, in my final years - which has widened my knowledge in my area of work. The programme offered a range of modules, studying topics that particularly focused on the future of farming, looking at new ideas and concepts. I believe this approach is valuable because it enables students to grow businesses and be leaders in the current world of UK agriculture.

I chose to study my degree at Reading because of the diversity across the campus. Unlike many other agricultural universities or colleges, the University of Reading offers a complete array of courses, which ensures the campus is full of people from all different walks of life. This provided the opportunity for me to host a #BackBritishFarming day on campus, promoting and teaching students about the great work UK farmers do for both food production and the countryside. Students even signed their names on a Back British Farming logo which is now proudly displayed in the agriculture building.

During the third year of my degree I completed a placement, with the intention of using it to apply the knowledge I had learned during my first and second years, before returning to complete my final year. I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Frontier placement scheme, which offered a rotation involving precision farming, farm trading and trials work. Before I had completed the full programme I had been offered a position back at Frontier upon completion of my degree, which I accepted.

My experience at the University of Reading was completely varied; from hosting the #BackBritishFarming day on campus to becoming one of the faces of a new marketing campaign to promote placements to new students. I also became fully involved in the Agricultural Society, working on the committee and hosting charity events such as the Ploughathon, which also opened doors for me to attend conferences in venues like the Farmers Club in London.

Going forward I aim to further understand the new products and seed varieties which are available to farmers, so that I can provide them with the latest technology, which will enable the industry to develop and grow as the key cornerstone of food production.

 

Name: Tom Rabbetts

BSc Agriculture, graduated 2006
Technical and Policy Adviser for Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers

'Studying Agriculture at Reading definitely gave me the chance to gain the essential skills and knowledge to succeed. The degree programme allowed me to choose options that suited me and it is well respected within the agricultural industry, both of which assisted in getting a job I enjoy. The facilities and staff at Reading are second to none, and I met friends during my time there that I will stay in contact with for the rest of my life.'


 

Name: Helen Drake

BSc Agriculture, graduated 2005
Currently helping to rear 3000 calves in New Zealand

'Reading is a great place to study Agriculture, supported by leading academics in their fields, substantial farms, several major research stations and a caring and friendly community of staff and students.'


 

Name: Amy Mathews

BSc Agriculture, graduated 2001
Agricultural Researcher for Natwest Bank

'I really enjoyed undergraduate life at Reading because of the wide group of friends I made on the Agriculture course and elsewhere in the University - who are now life-long friends. The course had a more scientific basis than similar courses at other universities, and this quality is recognised by employers.'

BSC Agricultural Business Management

Clare CampbellName: Clare Campbell

Programme: BSc Agricultural Business Management

Job title: Student- MSc Sustainable International Agriculture

Working for: Göttingen University, Germany

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2017, with a BSc Agricultural Business Management, which was influential in directing my future career aspirations.

I am now studying for a Masters degree in Sustainable International Agriculture specialising in Agribusiness and Rural Development Economics at Göttingen University, in Germany. I chose to study abroad as I wanted to meet other like-minded people from around the world and learn from their experiences in the agricultural sector. So far this has enabled me to expand my knowledge in areas such as Marketing of Organic Products, World Agricultural Markets, Agricultural Policy Analysis, as well as a number of modules based on research and statistical analysis.

The course is taught across two universities, Göttingen University and the Witzenhausen campus of Kassel University, which specialises in organic agriculture. This means that I have access to professors who are carrying out research in a wide range of areas, such as farm management, rural development and organic agriculture. I am really enjoying a very different university structure.

In the future, I hope to go onto a career in international consultancy or supply chain management within the agricultural sector. In order to boost my CV, and continue to develop my professional experience I would like to complete an internship with an international consultancy firm during my Masters studies.

Throughout my time at Reading I gained a huge amount of theoretical and applied knowledge in the field of agricultural business, which has been invaluable in interviews and my Masters studies so far. I really enjoyed the frequent farm visits and use of case studies to reinforce the theoretical knowledge taught in the classroom. The Farm Business Management, Marketing and Supply Chain Management modules have been especially influential in directing my future career aspirations.

In my third year I completed a placement with a small Land Agency firm in Devon, as an Assistant Surveyor. This experience has proved to be very valuable in helping me to make decisions about my future career aspirations. I realised that I greatly enjoyed the consultancy nature of the job however, I would like to do it on a larger, international scale. This was an invaluable experience which provided me with knowledge and experiences which will help me in the future.

Overall, my time at Reading allowed me to develop academically, and personally, providing me with the skills and knowledge I needed to decide on my career path.

 

James BakerName: James Baker

Programme: BSc Agricultural Business Management

Job title: Analyst

Working for: Czarnikow Group Ltd

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2016, and I am now working for Czarnikow, a sugar and ethanol trading, advisory and supply chain management firm.

As an Analyst I am responsible for analysing the sugar market, with a focus on the EU and MENA region. I provide market analysis and advisory services to internal traders and external clients which involves insight on physical trade flows, dynamic local and world market prices, global production and consumption changes.

I enjoy many things about my role however, the people, office and location are the best attributes. The people are great to work with, providing a friendly, yet competitive and driven work environment.

Although, this role isn't a direct match to my career aspirations whilst I was studying, this is the first step on the ladder that will enable me to develop my experience. Ultimately I hope to build a successful career in commodities, perhaps overseas, before returning to the family farm in my later years.

I believe that if I hadn't obtained my degree in Agricultural Business Management from Reading I wouldn't have been offered my current job with Czarnikow. Most of my colleagues studied Economics, Chemistry or Maths, so having an agricultural background and knowledge is incredibly useful…even in The City!

I learnt a huge amount from my degree, perhaps not about the exact role I am currently in however, there are many aspects of my day to day working life that I developed during my time at Reading. The presentation, excel and report writing skills were all tested and developed enormously while studying, which has been a great benefit.

On a personal level, I made many friends both on my course, in halls and through sports societies, many of which I am still in contact with.

I chose Reading as it was the best place in the country to study Agricultural Business Management. The green open campus was very appealing, and the course seemed to cover a variety of topics. I also wanted to have the full university experience, with thousands of other people doing a variety of courses and from different backgrounds and walks of life. This is often not the case at other Universities. The small class sizes also made the learning experience quite intimate, which allowed students to get to know their lecturers, who were often very helpful and willing to provide the right guidance.

In my third year I completed a placement at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of the world's largest commodity houses, as a Grain Trader. In this role I was responsible for buying grain from farmers. This year in industry helped me enormously, making me more focused and driven on my return, as well as improving the quality of my work. I would highly recommend everyone to do a placement, as I don't believe I would have achieved, or wanted to achieve a first class degree if I hadn't done one.

 

Jon Hughes (cropped)Name: Jonathan Hughes

Programme: BSc Agricultural Business Management

Job title: Farm Business Consultant; Partner

Working for: The Andersons Centre; Family Dairy Farming Business

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2016, and I am now a Partner in my family Dairy Farming Business, in Leicestershire, in addition to being a Farm Business Consultant at The Andersons Centre.

The Andersons Centre provides budgeting, financial services and general advice across all agricultural sectors, as well as a reputable research department. My role as a Farm Business Consultant incudes Business reviews and strategic planning; working with clients offering financial and practical advice; and Grassland and Forage Management advice.

Alongside this I am a Partner in my family Dairy Farming Business, in which we operate a 630 cow autumn calving dairy business with a strong focus on grazing and forage utilisation. This role involves the day to day running and structural business decisions of our dairy farm alongside my parents and brother (who also studied at Reading), as well as grassland and forage management, herd management, and working with a great team of staff.

Agriculture has always been a hobby of mine from a young age, in which the combination of working in practical farming and farm business consultancy has allowed me to continue enjoying the practical aspects of dairy farming, whilst working with fantastic colleagues and clients at The Andersons Centre. Being able to work alongside so many fantastic people in the agricultural sector allows me to continue to increase my knowledge and learn new techniques. It is also very rewarding working with fellow farming clients and helping them to monitor and improve their business and lifestyle.

My time at Reading certainly helped me to channel my vision of what I wanted to. I came to University with an open mind and wanted to learn about other sectors as well as enhancing my practical dairy knowledge further. The flexibility of the programme allowed us to broaden our knowledge in the first year with a steady focus on our desired sectors in the final two years.

In my first year the crop production and agronomy module was a particular favourite, exploring the theory behind practical crop husbandry. This led onto a cereal production exercise in year two, where we grew our own trials plots and made agronomic decisions with reports to justify our choice of nutrition/fungicide plan etc. This led onto a marketing module in or final year where we marketed our grain and presented our decisions to the other groups. Although on a relatively small scale this allowed me to experience the whole cereal growth cycle, from seed to sale.

In my third year I undertook a placement which allowed me to travel to New Zealand for a more practical spectrum of my degree. I was working on a 1400 cow spring calving farm on the Canterbury Plains. In addition, to gaining more practical experience I was given the responsibilities of young stock rearing, and some aspects of staff management. This placement gave me direction to lead me into my final year. With dairy being my clear direction I decided to complete my dissertation on drought control methods for UK pasture based dairy farms, using case studies from NZ where drought is a considerable issue.

Reading, unlike some other universities that offer Agriculture, has a wide variety of people doing different courses and from different backgrounds. This allowed me to make some very good non-agricultural friends, the majority of whom I still speak to regularly today. I found this very important as a food producer to speak to our consumers and to understand their habits and likewise for them understand their food cycle! I also made a close nit group agricultural friends, whom we meet up with throughout the year. Many of us from different sectors of the agriculture industry and we are all only a phone call away if we want to bounce our ideas off one another! I also benchmark figures from our home dairy business with other dairy farmers in the group which has boundless benefits to us all.

BSc Environmental Management

Helen WaltonName: Helen Walton

Programme: BSc Rural Environmental Science with a year in industry

Job Title: Study Director - Ecotoxicology

Working for: Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science)

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2009, with a BSc in Rural Environmental Science. In 2014, I secured a graduate job at CEFAS as a Study Director for Ecotoxicology, situated in Lowestoft. CEFAS is the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, through work in areas ranging from aquaculture to oil and gas, CEFAS aims to create and secure healthy and sustainable marine and freshwater environments.

My role at CEFAS involves organising acute and chronic marine toxicity testing of effluents and chemicals. This work is done to try and ensure that harmful substances do not get into the marine environment. I conduct research involving a range of taxonomic groups including algae, crustaceans and fish, and I am one of the primary project/contract managers within the ecotoxicology department. My work here is exciting, multi-disciplinary and I enjoy liaising with customers and organising the study work packages. The ecology side of my job is also really interesting, and I am constantly learning new things, an advantage of working in an organisation with such a breadth of expertise. I am also given the opportunity to go out on CEFAS' research vessel occasionally, and in the past, I have been on a beam trawl survey cruise in the North Sea which was not only really interesting, but also great fun.

I chose to study at Reading because I knew that the course would allow me a lot of flexibility to push my degree in the direction I wanted it to go, as it provided the opportunity to take a range of optional modules. The aquatic biology lectures and wildlife conservation modules were my favourite. I also really enjoyed the field trips that were organised each year, because they allowed us to see and experience the theory we had learnt, in a real-world environment. Whilst at Reading, I also had the chance to complete a placement year working for the Cotswolds Conservation Board. My role here mainly involved preserving the landscape through a range of projects including; managing dry stone walling, organising guided walks and work on a national lottery funded educational games kiosk for children. Carrying out this placement was very beneficial to my learning, allowing me to put theory into practice.

Studying Rural Environmental Science at Reading gave me a wide perspective of the different areas of research and work that the industry could offer, plus the knowledge to allow me to develop in the areas I am interested in. I had a passion to follow a career in environmental science, and knew once I left university that I wanted to continue learning and have development opportunities. Hence, upon graduating from Reading I went on to do a Master's in Aquatic Biology and Resource Management at Exeter University. After leaving Exeter, I worked for Cambridge Environmental Assessments doing freshwater ecotoxicology. These experiences helped me to secure my dream role at CEFAS. Being successful in a career relevant to my degree has been one of my main achievements and securing a job at CEFAS has been the highlight as it is a company that I have wanted to work for, for as long as I have known of their existence!

I would describe my experience of studying at Reading as the best time of my life! I learnt a lot, made lifelong friendships and it has set me on track to thrive in a career that I love.

 

Anne CottonName: Anne Cotton

Programme: BSc Rural Environmental Science (graduated 2002), followed by MSc Wildlife Management in 2003

Job Title: Land Management Adviser

Working for: Natural England

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2002, with a BSc in Rural Environmental Science, after which I did a one-year Master's degree in Wildlife Management, also at Reading. I was fortunate to get a job almost immediately as an Agri-Environment Adviser at Defra. In 2006, my department became Natural England, where I have worked ever since in a very similar role.

Over the years I have worked on a number of different agri-environment schemes including the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme, Environmental Stewardship, and Countryside Stewardship. I have also looked after National Trails and SSSI's. I love the variety of my work because each day is different. I have the chance to visit lots of different places, different people, and experience a variety of landscapes and wildlife habitats, and I enjoy managing the challenges that they bring. It can be very rewarding when there is a big increase in wildlife on a farm following advice I have given.

Growing up in the Luxembourg countryside, I spent most of my time outdoors and developed a real passion for nature and the environment which fuelled my desire to study Rural Environmental Science. I chose Reading because it is in a really convenient location; with excellent transport links allowing me to get to the airport quickly and fly abroad to see my parents back at home. The attractive campus environment was also an appealing factor, and I loved the park style campus with the areas of green space.

The Rural Environmental Science course definitely lived up to my expectations. It gave me a broad knowledge of many different areas of environmental science including soil science, plant ecology, landscape management, agriculture, and many more, all of which I still use in my day to day work. I particularly enjoyed the weekly field trips and the chance to meet and study with likeminded people.

My time at Reading University was brilliant; it was exactly what I was looking for. I had lots of fun, worked hard, learnt lots and met many new friends. Studying here set me up for life by providing me with the skills and qualifications I needed to land my dream job!

 

Emily NewtonName: Emily Newton

Programme: BSc Rural Environmental Science

Job Title: Conservation Officer

Working for: Dorset Wildlife Trust

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2003, with a BSc in Rural Environmental Science. Since graduating I have worked for Natural England, the Rural Payments Agency and now I work for Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is the largest conservation charity in Dorset with over 27,000 members and is committed to ensuring that there is a secure future for Dorset's wildlife.

The charity manages over 3000 hectares of land purely for nature and work with landowners and farmers throughout the rest of the county to protect and enhance Dorset's distinctive wildlife and natural spaces, and in my role as a Conservation Officer, I am responsible for delivering practical land management to benefit wildlife in Dorset.

I work with farmers and landowners writing habitat management plans, implementing conservation management and help facilitate agri-environment schemes. I enjoy my job because it is always changing in terms of the habitats, farm systems and environmental policy. I love working with people and enjoy the challenge of balancing ecosystem services with sustainable intensification. I can honestly say my job never gets boring!

I decided to study Rural Environmental Science at the University of Reading because I have always had a strong interest in farming and wildlife, and I knew that a career that incorporated these elements was one that I wanted to follow. Reading is a university which has a strong reputation for agricultural sciences and so I was confident that the degree I was going to secure would provide good foundations for my future career.

When I started my BSc, I was not entirely sure what job I wanted to do, but studying at the university really helped. Over the three years of my degree, my understanding of the different user groups and industries involved with the rural environment grew, and I found that the agri-environment sector was one I was passionate about.

My expectations surrounding my university experience were far exceeded. Not only did my degree give me a good grounding for the broad scope of skills needed in countryside management, I also had a brilliant three years there. The campus environment is a great place to relax, especially the gardens near the horticulture department, and the countryside is only a short drive away. There are also plenty of good bars and clubs for social events which were great places to visit with friends.

Studying at Reading helped me to further my passion in environmental sciences and secure a job which I love. By far, my greatest achievement is being happy in what I do, continually learning about natural history and how nature can benefit people in so many ways.

 

Joe BishopName: Joe Bishop

Programme: BSc Environmental (& Countryside) Management

Current Role: Studying MSc in Ecological Applications

I graduated from the University of Reading in 2016, after studying Environmental and Countryside Management and am keen to pursue a career that involves an element of field work, such environmental or ecological consultancy.

I am particularly interested in ecology, and hope that with my higher level education and the experience I have gained through my placement year will serve me well as I embark on the next phase of my education with a MSc in Ecological Applications at Imperial College London, based at Silwood Park campus in Ascot.

During my placement year I worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where I was based in the science department in the herbarium. My role largely involved helping to develop Kew's Tropical American plants resource website, "Neotropikey". I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and loved having the opportunity to learn a new skillset in plant identification and taxonomy, and creating an online identification key for a group of plants that is now available for people to use around the world.

Studying at Reading allowed me to take a year out to complete my placement year. This experience provided me with an excellent opportunity to explore and develop skills in an area of biology, helping me to choose what career path I was interested in. More broadly, it has given me a good introduction to how scientific research is undertaken within an organisation.

I initially chose Reading because of the university's teaching strength in my area of study, with a number of the lecturers being experts in their field. I benefited from studying at Reading due to the generally small class sizes that allowed for more interaction between students and lecturers. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The fact that my course was so varied allowed me to stay engaged and inspired throughout; I enjoyed the balance of different modules and found the working environment incredibly friendly. Whiteknights campus was also a great setting for my course, allowing for extensive opportunities for field work.

Studying at Reading has provided me with excellent foundations to pursue a career in ecology, and I look forward to what the future will hold.

 

Victoria ThomasName: Victoria Thomas

Programme: BSc Rural Environmental Science (graduated 2002)

Job Title: Professional Ecological Consultant

Working for: WYG

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2002, and started my career in 2004 as a Consultant Ecologist at WYG, a National and International Planning and Engineering Company.

I now manage WYG's ecology team for the Midlands Region after securing the role of Professional Ecological Consultant. I am responsible for supporting developers and clients by interpreting ecological legislation and policy, carrying out site investigation and assessments, and preparing technical reports, management plans and environmental statements.

My project portfolio developed over the past 12 years is quite extensive; I have had the privilege of working on developments of new roads and the duelling of existing roads, large urban and rural house developments, wind farms and quarry extensions. As a result, there are never two projects the same, so the job is far from mundane and there is always something to keep me motivated.

I was motivated to pursue this career after studying Rural Environmental Science at the University of Reading. I have always been passionate about the environment, and when I started university, I was interested in a career as a Conservation Officer or a farming and wildlife advisor. However, during my second year of the course I was taught by a lecturer who had previously been a consultant. This experience encouraged my interests in Environmental Impact Assessments. The idea of gathering data and interpreting it to provide mitigation measures for complex development really appealed to my personality traits and skills, and here I am today, now writing Ecology chapters for environmental impact assessments!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Reading. I loved the campus grounds at the university, and I spent much of my time there, even leading a bat walk around the lake during the Bat Conservation Trust Conference in my final year! I also had the opportunity to conduct research projects at the university's farms and gain experience through the many field trips that were on offer. I remember getting the chance to take part in a project sponsored by Jaguar where I was asked to design a tree planting scheme for a woodland area, a really unique opportunity. In addition, I was offered the Nuffield Scholarship which allowed me to gain field work experience during my summer holidays, another enriching experience.

Securing a BSc degree was crucial to my success in this career field, studying at Reading gave me the opportunity to do this whilst also providing me with experiences that have enhanced my learning significantly; I greatly enjoyed my time here.

 

Denice TimofeevName: Denice Timofeev

Programme: BSc Rural Environmental Sciences (graduated 2009) and MSc Environmental Management (graduated 2011)

Job Title: Consultant Ecologist

Working for: Amec Foster Wheeler

Amec Foster Wheeler is a multi national company, with focuses, including Engineering, Environmental consultancy, Oil and Gas, Power etc..

As an ecologist I am positioned in the Environment and Infrastructure team. I survey for European protected species including Great Created newts, Badger, Bats etc. and produce report that are used at different stages of the planning process from pre application to discharging conditions and monitoring after works are complete. I also run logistics for our wider ecology team for larger infrastructure projects, providing support, coordination and ensuring access and health and safety needs are met.

My role is very varied and I enjoy being able to see areas of the country and wildlife spectacles that many other people don't have the opportunity to, such as handling wild dormice, and coming across unusual orchids.

When studying for my degrees, I knew that I wanted to work outdoors and with nature, specifically plants, upon leaving university the opportunity arose to field work as an ecologist, which used a lot of the skills that I developed at university.

Studying with lecturers and tutors that were very knowledgeable within their fields as well as had experience of roles outside of the university created a really rounded learning environment and provided great insight into the relationship between the taught and working environment.

I choose Reading University, as I wanted a campus based university and a degree programme that was both flexible and offered more practical and specialist content.

Both my masters and my undergraduate degree programmes offered a great mix and match style of content that allow me to make the most of the expertise and teaching on offer and come away with a more industry focused degree at the end.

My Experience at Reading was a very rounded one. I learned a lot of technical and general skills and met some very interesting and knowledgeable people. Most importantly I left Reading with skills and understanding that have been vital moving into my current role.

While I was at Reading I was a member of the Riding Society and I met my now husband during my undergraduate degree.

BSc Animal Science

Auriane HurtesName: Auriane Hurtes

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Job title: Equine Nutritionist

Working for: Simple System Horse Feeds

Originally from France, I came to the UK to study Animal Science at the University of Reading. This is where I discovered my passion for animal nutrition, and following graduation in 2013, I moved to Sweden where I studied for an MSc in Animal Science at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

I specialised in the nutrition of sports and companion animals, and wrote my thesis on the equine nutrition and health. During my Master's degree I developed a keen interest to pursue a career as an equine nutritionist for an international feed company, working at the interface between research and product development.

I am now following my passion and working as an Equine Nutritionist for Simple System horse feeds, a company that specialises in feeding horses according to their digestive tracts, which includes quality forages and no starch rich feeds, notably cereals.

Part of my role is to advise current and potential customers on what to feed their horses. Helping customers understand how certain feeds/ingredients affect the animal's health is very satisfying.

Another key element of my work is to increase general knowledge of horse nutrition. This is often achieved through public speaking and contributing to product development. From research to production, developing a new product is a complex process. Factors to take into account include a desired effect, composition, sourcing and quantities of each ingredient and whether there is a market for it.

I chose to study at Reading because the degree offers a great range of modules, covering the diversity that exists in animal science, with everything from theoretical biosciences, animal nutrition and reproduction to broader based subjects such as conservation, livestock production and companion animal science.

The course started with a number of compulsory modules which ensured everyone had the same level of essential knowledge and introduced us to the fundamental concepts of animal science.

As the degree progressed there were more optional modules to choose from which meant that I was able to tailor the degree to my interests. The diversity offered not only enabled me to identify which aspects I was most enthusiastic about, such as animal nutrition and equine, canine and feline science, but also helped me to gain a sound knowledge in all areas.

During my time at Reading, I also had the chance to undertake practical modules such as 'Captive Animal Management' at Durrell Wildlife Park in Jersey which was a wonderful opportunity to put theory into practice. During my week there we put some animal behaviour into practice, looking at the behaviour of Sulawesi Crested Black Macaques in their enclosure. This experience was a turning point in transforming my negative outlook on zoos into a more positive one, appreciating their role in conservation and the importance of enrichment.

The relatively small size of the cohort also meant a personalised learning experience and good relationships with tutors. Furthermore, I chose to complete my dissertation on a topic that I was passionate about, investigating the effect of playing classical music on stabled horses' heart rate as an indicator of stress levels. This was an amazing opportunity to develop my research skills and learn more about a specific area of interest.

As an alternative to Veterinary Science, I chose to do Animal Science at Reading to gain more knowledge and experience in this diverse field. Completing the course greatly improved my career options, beyond veterinarian which was the only profession I'd heard of combining my love for animals and science. My studies at Reading opened my mind to alternative options and led me to find a career I'm passionate about.

Overall, the BSc Animal Science degree helped me realise that I wanted to work in animal nutrition and health and the knowledge gained has served me well leading to a career I'm passionate about.

 

Susannah DysonName: Susannah Dyson

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: 2011

Job title : Lecturer in Animal Welfare and Production

Working for: Royal Veterinary College and Kingston Maurward College

I currently hold a unique joint position working for both the Royal Veterinary College and Kingston Maurward College in Dorset. My official title is Lecturer in Animal Welfare and Production, but my role covers a wide variety of responsibilities including maintaining a close working link between the two educational organisations.

What does your job involve?

I teach practical calf health to final year vet students from the Royal Veterinary College who are on rotation in Dorset, and have found that the various modules that I took during my time at Reading, particularly in the Animal Health and Disease module have helped me in my teaching. I also assist with clinical trials which involves working in partnership with various agricultural companies such as NMR and Provita. Meanwhile, my time at Kingston Maurward College is spent teaching various animal science based subjects at a range of academic levels, from Level 3 Diploma to Foundation Degree. I teach animal nutrition to the Foundation Degree students and often call upon knowledge acquired in the Applied Animal Nutrition module that I studied during my second year at Reading, which gave me invaluable understanding of farm animal nutrition. Other topics that I cover include livestock breeding and health; again the module contained within the Animal Science degree that I did have formed the basis of my understanding.

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

The BSc Animal Science degree at Reading gave me a considerable breadth of knowledge, covering everything from companion animals to farm animal production, as well as an understanding of the biological processes that underpin how we keep animals. I also believe that having the ability to choose from such a wide range of topics within my degree, and the level of detail that was covered within those subjects, has allowed me to perform my job with confidence and to a high standard. In addition, the dissertation that I undertook in my final year at Reading also helped me, as I gained an understanding of trial work, statistical analysis and reporting the findings of a trial in a scientific manner.

 

Courtney DalzielCourtney Dalziel

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: July 2012

Job title: Game Ranger

Working for: Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa

After studying BSc Animal Science at the University of Reading I went on to do a 1 year Professional Field Guiding Course in South Africa and then worked at a small rustic bush lodge called Umkumbe as a ranger and later a manager. I moved to my current position at Sabi in January 2013.

What does your job involve?

My day-to-day work includes doing two safaris a day where I drive tourists in a 4x4 land rover equipped with a tracker, and together we track and spot leopard and occasionally black and white rhino, lions and other large animals and birds. I interpret animal behaviour for guests, explain how the animals we spot are part of the Sabi ecosystem and provide them with informative talks about recent findings in the reserve. I also conduct 2 hour bush walks between safaris and host guests during dinner. On occasion I get to treat my guests to exclusive breakfasts and picnics in the bush or star gazing excursions. At quieter times my duties extend to bush clearing, water conservation, bird watching, further in-house training, and advanced rifle handling practice. No two days are the same and I meet an array of people from different cultures from across the world. There is a great opportunity for me to travel, as a typical working cycle is 42 days on duty and 14 days off, allowing for enough time to take up invitations from guests to travel to different parts of the world. At 5ft 4 inches tall, I also get to take most people by surprise when I arrive in a 4x4 with a .375 rifle!

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

For me, Reading was a first choice international destination to take up my studies. Studying outside of South Africa served me greatly in entering the tourism and hospitality industry, as I had been exposed to a new culture and experienced what most people feel when in unknown territory. Reading is also internationally recognised for research which is a great advantage for anyone looking to move into conservation work, as a solid research foundation is essential. Animal Science appealed to me because I have a huge love for the outdoors and for wildlife, but the prospect of studying subjects like biochemistry, physiology and microbiology was daunting at first. Whilst sciences are the core in the degree, there is a variety of other modules including those with more agricultural and applied science focus. The most enjoyable ones for me were Animal Production, Animal Nutrition, Growth, Lactation and Reproduction and Conservation Biology. As I foresee agriculture playing a huge part in conservation in the future, I particularly valued the change to learn more about the industry and the difficulties it faces. Whilst I was at Reading I was also given the opportunity to do a research placement for the British Society of Animal Science which led me into my third year dissertation project, which has recently been published (largely owed to the help and patience of my supervisors at Reading!). I also undertook a voluntary placement at the University of Reading during which time I logged data and in return was trained to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a skill useful to me as GIS is used in conservation work for data mapping.

 

Amy Denyer (small)Name: Amy Denyer

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: July 2011

Job title: Trainee Veterinary Nurse

I graduated from the University of Reading in 2011 with a first class degree in Animal Science, after which I spent some time in Australia before settling on a certain career path. Upon returning and completing some work experience I embarked on training to become a Veterinary Nurse.

What does your job involve?

My work as a trainee Veterinary Nurse has included rotating around different parts of a large veterinary clinic, spending time monitoring anaesthetics or assisting in theatre, nursing the hospital patients (which can include anything from working out drip rates to feeding animals through an oesophageal tube), and running nurse consultations. Being a Veterinary Nurse is hard work, and sometimes emotionally difficult, but I can honestly say that I love my job.

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

I believe the BSc Animal Science degree at Reading has helped me enormously with my current job. There is huge competition to obtain a student a Veterinary Nursing placement which is required alongside studying for the Veterinary Nursing Diploma. My degree and experience really made me stand out whilst applying, allowing me to secure a supportive and challenging placement practice. After working for my first placement practice for a while I was offered a paid placement at a 24 hour emergency clinic with a busy animal hospital and additional orthopaedic department. Since beginning my Veterinary Nursing training I have also found a lot of the knowledge acquired in the Animal Science degree, particularly from modules in Canine and Feline Science, Animal Welfare, Animal Nutrition, Animal Health and Disease has been very useful. I also have extensive background scientific knowledge, particularly in animal anatomy and physiology, which has made studying and practising much easier. I am shortly due to qualify and my career aspirations continue, including the wish to experience working in referral practice and possibly undertaking an Advanced Veterinary Nursing Diploma.

 

Sarah BarnsleyName: Sarah Barnsley

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: July 2013

Job title: Conservation Assistant

Working for: UK overseas Territories Conservation Forum

Following graduation from the BSc Animal Science degree at the University of Reading in 2013, I went on to do an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. I am particularly interested in the role of animal science in sustainable agriculture and food security and the link this has with conservation, so I chose this Masters to allow me to combine knowledge and skills in these areas.

What does your job involve?

Having completed my MSc Conservation Science at the end of September 2014, I am now participating in a number of different roles. I have a voluntary part-time role as a Conservation Assistant for the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, which aims to promote and coordinate the conservation of biodiversity and natural habitats of the UK Overseas Territories. This role is providing me with experience in the day-to-day activities of a non-governmental organisation which will allow me to seek full time employment in conservation in due course. I have also recently taken up a role as a biology tutor for the London Science Tutors Organisation and am acting as a consultant for a website which provides information on the French Overseas Territories.

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

The flexibility of being able to choose from a variety of modules on the Animal Science degree at Reading meant I was able to tailor the choices to my own personal interests. As a result I was able to select modules, such as conservation biology, organic farming and various modules relating to animal nutrition, which complemented my career plans. In addition to the scientific theory that underpins the degree, the course also provided a good balance of practical elements and projects, such as experience in animal management or exercises in diet formulation, providing experience and skills beneficial at work. The course also provided opportunities to learn more about topical research within the world of animal science. As an example, for my dissertation I observed the effect of hen production systems upon the quantity of vitamin D in hen's eggs, which was part of a wider research programme at Reading to understand how animal-derived foods provide human health benefits. Finally, the support we received on careers development was very useful with tips provided on writing CV's and cover letters and support was always available when making job or further education applications.

 

Lucy CarterName: Lucy Carter

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: July 2014

Job title: Rehoming and Advice Manager

Working for: Blue Cross

I applied for a job at the Blue Cross shortly after leaving Reading University. My BSc Animal Science Degree from Reading, plus my BTEC in Animal Management and varied work experience at Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bristol Zoo, Oak and Furrow Wildlife Rehabilitation and several veterinary practices all helped me secure the position of Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross Burford in October 2014. This role involved the day to day care of the pets housed by Blue Cross (dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals) as well as behaviour work, administering veterinary care and matching the pets with potential new homes. In January 2016, a maternity cover position of Manager at the Blue Cross Rehoming and Advice Unit in Swindon came up, I applied and was interviewed against other external and internal candidates and I secured the role.

What does your job involve?

As Rehoming and Advice Manager, I manage a team of one paid employee and 15-20 volunteers. Day to day, the role is very varied, but the main aspects include:

Assisting people who need to give up pets (who are often very upset)

Carrying out assessments on animals who are being rehomed via our Home Direct scheme (where owners keep pets in their home whilst we look for new homes for them)

Helping people find new pets - including helping them to choose the right one for their lifestyle etc. We often have a dog from Burford rehoming centre spend the day with us in our purpose built "home room" to give them an audience of potential homes and to give them a day out of kennels

Offer free microchipping (which I am trained to do) - this year to date we have chipped around 220 dogs

Assess clients for discounted neutering (for people on means tested benefits)

Offer behaviour advice for people's pets

Give education talks to school children about pet care and dog safety

Put on fundraising events such as dog shows, children's arts and crafts, etc

Plus whatever else I can do to help Burford rehoming centre/Blue Cross in general!

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

Studying at Reading benefited me in many ways. The third year Animal Welfare module particularly stays in my mind as it helped me realise that I wanted to work in the Animal Welfare sector after graduation. The Animal Science degree provided me with a broad spectrum of knowledge and countless valuable experiences. It taught me the importance of deadlines and making sure they are met, and helped improve my people and communication skills (the countless presentations I gave mean I now have no problem standing in front of a large group of people and talking about pets!). It was such a great experience and without it, I'm not sure I would be in the position I am today.

 

Sophie NobleName: Sophie Noble

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: July 2015

Job title: Trainee Study Manager

Working for: Envigo (Scientific Research)

I graduated from the University of Reading in July 2015 and shortly afterwards started working for Envigo as a Technician in their Reproductive Toxicology department. In March 2016 I transferred within the company and am now a Trainee Study Manager in the Toxicology department.

What does your job involve?

As a Technician I was involved in the day-to-day running of Reproductive Toxicology studies performing routine procedures and data collection.

As a Trainee Study Manager I am involved in the design, conduct and monitoring of Toxicology studies of various types as well as interpretation of data and production of scientific reports. On a day-to-day basis I prepare protocols, interact with internal scientists, liaise with external customers and analyse study data.

My work with Envigo is challenging and gives me scope for progression, as well as some opportunities to travel internationally.

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

The BSc Animal Science degree at Reading offered me a broad range of topics with a great deal of flexibility to enable me to tailor my degree to suit my interests. I gained valuable knowledge from modules such as animal welfare, animal behaviour, mammalian reproduction, animal health and disease and vertebrate zoology.

Throughout my time at Reading I also developed key skills in statistical analysis, report writing, reviewing scientific literature and effective communication, all of which have greatly aided me during my career so far. Carrying out a research project during my third year and being able to plan, implement and report a scientific study provided me with the perfect foundation for beginning my career in scientific research.

Finally, being given the opportunity to carry out a work experience placement during my degree and receiving ample support in career development, including tips for my CV, cover letter writing and interview skills, definitely benefited me when applying for my job.

 

Deidre DyerName: Deidre Dyer

Programme: BSc Animal Science

Graduated: July 2015

Job title: Lecturer in Game and Wildlife Management

Working for: Lackham College, Wiltshire

My passion in life has always been the British countryside and its wild inhabitants - mainly deer. Lackham College, Wiltshire, offer a Foundation Degree in Game and Wildlife Management and they had a place available on their teaching team when I finished my degree which I was lucky enough to secure.

What does your job involve?

On the FdSc degree I teach a breadth of modules in game management and ecology and also lead practicals which allow my students to experience a 'hands on' approach. I am an Academic Tutor for first and second year students and work with other lecturers and the Royal Agricultural University in delivering this unique course. Much of the knowledge I gained on the BSc Animal Science course at the University of Reading has helped me to be confident in what I now teach, including aspects of animal welfare, health and disease, ecology, nutrition, behaviour, and reproduction.

I also lecture on the college's Further Education courses covering deer management and site maintenance from Level 1 right through to Level 3, giving me a wide spectrum of teaching experience. I am about to start my PGCE , which will provide me with a formal teaching qualification.

The other exciting part of my role is being the Deer Manager at Lackham where I look after a small herd of fallow deer (Dama dama) on campus. This includes a lot of practical work which adds variety and has helped me gain a few new skills along the way.

 

How did you benefit from studying at Reading?

I was never very academic when I was younger and going back to university as a mature student was difficult for me at times especially when I had to juggle family time with deadlines. However, achieving my BSc Animal Science degree at Reading not only helped me to progress with my career, but it also gave me back my confidence and a passion for continued learning. Many of the subjects I studied at Reading have played an important role in my career and it helped me to realise that there is nothing you can't achieve if you put your mind to it. I can only hope that I will be able to achieve my dream of achieving my PhD one day, and become as great a lecturer as my mentors at Reading were.

Bsc consumer behaviour and marketing

Nick SnellName: Nick Snell

Programme: BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing (with a year Industrial Training)

Job title: CAReer Graduate (currently within Customer Services)

Working for: Mercedes-Benz Cars UK (MBCUK)

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in July 2017, after a memorable four years studying BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing, with an Industrial Training year at Mercedes-Benz.

I am now working as a CAReer Graduate at Mercedes-Benz UK within a rotational scheme. My current role is based within the Customer Services department in Business Development, responsible for the Chauffeur Programme and customer loyalty. The scheme lasts 18 months in total, and within that time I will have five rotations; three at Head office, one retailer facing and one international assignment.

My key function involves looking into the development of materials and technologies in order to better support the retail network, focusing particularly on the customer journey, launching new products and solutions to support the After Sales division.

I am really enjoying this post as working in Customer Services is extremely diverse, meaning that each day is different and I have exposure to the whole business and all stakeholders within it. Furthermore, working for such a prestigious brand is incredibly motivating; seeing a car park full of beautiful vehicles every day and driving them myself is a true perk of the role.

In addition to enjoying my role, I am also extremely lucky as my colleagues are fantastic, and from previously working for the same company during my placement year, but in a different department (smart), I was confident that I would enjoy the programme and be embraced again by the organisation when accepting the Graduate Scheme.

During my studies at Reading, I believed that I would pursue a marketing based job, however, gaining experience in additional business areas has given me the opportunity to expand my skills set which will only continue to help and support me in the future. Marketing is no longer my career focus.

International exposure is key to the Mercedes-Benz Graduate opportunity, whilst a participant and an alumni there are four international elements, these involve travelling to Germany and even as far afield as China.

My time at Reading allowed me to meet some exceptional people, and presented me with amazing opportunities. Throughout my degree, I knew that my end goal was to be successful in my career, so I made the most of my time, and maintained my motivation. Being taught by a range of knowledgeable and engaging lecturers, as well as having modules that were interesting and challenging made Reading everything I hoped it would be, and I don't think I could have gained any more from my four year period.

During my degree I completed a placement year with Mercedes-Benz UK as the smart Product and Operations Industrial Placement. The role included the management of the smart brand and retail network, in addition to product and material development. By completing this placement I gained vital experience in, and exposure to, a corporate environment, which has proved to be invaluable. My time with smart allowed me to develop the skills that we discuss hypothetically at university, and show unwavering commitment to my professional development.

My programme was extremely varied and allowed me to choose a number of optional modules which meant I could place a business/entrepreneurial spin on the programme. However, there are many more flexible modules in which you could focus on psychology or artistic pathways. I would describe my time at Reading as enlightening. I was able to not only take part in academic activities but also extra-curricular ones which made the experience even more memorable, and I was even presented with an award for my exceptional work as a Welfare JCR and became a prominent member of the Universities community. You only have a select number of years to enjoy University, make each of them count.

 

Victoria ElliottName: Victoria Elliott

Programme: BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing

Job title: Marketing and Sales Executive

Working for: Chomp

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2016, with a BSc in Consumer Behaviour and Marketing, and because of my degree I have been able to combine travelling with jobs in my field.

After graduating I went travelling in Australia for a year. Here I worked as a Digital Marketing Consultant for G2M Solutions, who provide professional sales and marketing advice, in Sydney. As part of this role I worked for various companies writing blogs, helping to manage their social media accounts and optimising their websites for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). I then worked as a Sales Rep, for Zeneth Direct, an agency that specialises in Field Sales, in Melbourne. Thanks to skills I learnt while working for the University Annual Fund and my hard work as a Sales Rep I was promoted to Sales Leader, and won Most Outstanding Rep award, April 2017.

I continued my travels and moved to New Zealand where I settled and started work for Chomp, a Food Safety App, which replaces paper-based Food Control Plans with a simple, streamlined digital plan which helps hospitality businesses comply with Food Safety Practices.

Working as their Marketing and Sales Executive, I am responsible for writing blogs for the companies, and optimising their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Events Management, maintaining business accounts, and training and management of team members. My role also involves a research element in which I look for key trends on Social Media platforms, as well as key opinion leaders to assist marketing strategy as well as then implementing this. Out of all these responsibilities I enjoy attending customer events the most, as the buzz gained from making a big business account is great, as well as getting to try some amazing food from their restaurants.

During my time at Reading I completed a placement year with Elanco Animal Health, as a Marketing Associate. In this role I worked alongside the Head of Marketing and the Strategic Account Team to manage suppliers, design and conduct market research to shape the marketing plan. This experience has been vital upon leaving university and has opened many doors, including working for Elanco in America next year, or sponsorship with Chomp if I chose to stay in New Zealand. The knowledge gained surrounding food safety within a global organisation made me a great candidate for my current job at Chomp.

I had the best experience at Reading, and grew so much over the four years I was there. The small class sizes made it feel like a community, and allowed you to really get to know your classmates, and I have definitely made some friends for life.

The combination of Psychology, Economics and Marketing is very relevant in today's working environment and I believe that the Consumer Behaviour and Marketing course at Reading offers something that is very hard to find at other institutes. I am very grateful for the opportunities Reading and my placement year have opened up to me.

 

Samuel BonstowName: Samuel Bonstow

Programme: BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing with Industrial Training

Job title: Marketing Executive

Working for: Realistic Games Limited

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD) in 2017, and I am now working for a leading supplier in online casino games.

As the Marketing Executive, and the first member of the marketing department, I am responsible for all marketing activities for the company. I oversee several areas including website management; liaising with our PR agency and industry publications to organise print advertising; coordinating product launches; internal communications such as a monthly company newsletter; social media; and branding.

I really enjoy the freedom and flexibility of my role, which allows me to have a lot of input into what the firm should be doing to promote its brand and products. It is this freedom that allows me to fully engage the knowledge that I gained during my degree which is helping me to grow and develop the company.

My current role matches my career aspirations very well, as I aspired to work in the Business-to-Business (B2B) industry, and to be in a position where I was able to be creative and make a real difference to a company. I believe that by working for a supplier, my current position fully enables me to do that.

During the third year of my degree I undertook a placement year with Keysight Technologies, a B2B test and measurement equipment supplier, as their UK and Nordic Marketing Communications Assistant. Completing a placement year prepared me for working life, and set me up well to complete my final year at Reading. In terms of working life, the placement gave me exposure to working in a marketing department. It improved my time management and organisational skills, both of which came in very useful during my final year. It also gave me the ability to not only see how the previous two years of teaching could be applied in the industry, but gave me the opportunity to do so.

I benefitted from studying at Reading in several ways. The combination of marketing, business, psychology, and statistical analysis modules has helped me immensely to gain a different perspective on marketing, which I have been able to apply to my current role. I now have the tools to have a different insight into consumer behaviour and what motivates and drives people, but with a data lead approach.

Reading also allowed me to develop many new life skills by being given the opportunities to take part in events, societies, and sports that have enabled me to develop and grow as a person.

I decided to study at Reading mainly because of the course. After attending one of the University Open Days I felt that it was the best course for me, compared against more general marketing courses. This was because of the wide variation of modules to choose from, as well as the opportunity to either study abroad, or take a year out from learning to gain a year's work experience.

In addition to the academic reasons, I chose Reading as I also liked that there was an established students union which offered a wide selection of sports and societies. I felt that the campus itself was amazing, and felt settled there already on the Open Day.

The flexibility of the course, in terms of choosing modules in and outside of the department, enabled me to study a vast range of topics that met my individual interests. I also enjoyed that modules were structured around current research, and encouraged us to find out the latest research, and keep up to date on current marketing affairs.

The variety of assessment types, from written pieces to group work and presentations helped me to develop a wide range of interpersonal and practical skills that have stuck with me since leaving university.

I would describe my experience at Reading as eye opening and amazing. It has allowed me several opportunities to learn multiple skills and develop as a person. I believe that my course has allowed me to learn aspects about consumer behaviour that I wouldn't necessarily have gained elsewhere.

Being a student at Reading has also provided me with many other opportunities such as playing American Football, and being elected to a marketing position on the team for two years, which allowed me to put my theoretical skills to use whilst still studying.

Since leaving University I worked for a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising agency, before taking up my current role, which allowed me to become a fully qualified Google, Bing, and social media advertiser.

Overall, I am very thankful to all my lecturers and staff within SAPD as I would not have been able to learn as much or develop as far without the help and support I was given throughout my course, both in terms of academic knowledge, and personal help.

 

Kamaal AhmedName: Kamaal Ahmed

Programme: BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing

Job title: Category Manager

Working for: Philips

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2013, and I am now working as a Category Manager at Philips, a leading health and technology company focused on improving health.

My role involves working internally with Sales and Marketing to grow Philips' overall Product Category sales. I work externally with retailers, as well as educating shoppers and winning share.

I enjoy working with a wealth of data to create a summarised and compelling story, with clear actionable insights. Taking that information to a retailer and seeing the results implemented is hugely rewarding. Working with multiple information sources, such as retailer electronic point of sale (EPOS) data, to shopper insight studies is another part of the role that I enjoy.

During my time at University I aspired to work in an insights role within a manufacturing company. I completed a placement year at IRi as an Insight Analyst, which gave me experience in working for an agency. Upon graduation, I joined Mars Chocolate in a Business Analysis role.

My placement year helped me massively, and set me up for success in my final year as I was able to use my experiences in many of my assignments. Upon graduation, having a year's worth of experience helped me greatly in finding a role in my desired field.

I chose to study at Reading because of its fantastic reputation, facilities and convenient location. Consumer Behaviour and Marketing was a unique subject that not many other Universities offer. Studying here set me up for my future career aspirations, leaving me with the necessary knowledge to succeed in the workplace. Having the opportunity to study a multidisciplinary degree with modules in psychology, business, economics and marketing made for a very interesting and engaging learning experience. This combination has given me an understanding of a broad range of topics.

My time at Reading was a fantastic experience both academically, and socially, and I have nothing but positive reviews.

 

Asmaa Bagersh (FINAL)Name: Asmaa Bagersh

Programme: BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing

Job title: Client Services Executive

Working for: BrandMoxie

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2018 and secured a six-month contract working for BrandMoxie, a leading advertising agency based in Abu Dhabi as a Client Services Executive.

I managed one of BrandMoxie's accounts; a Hotel Management Corporation's newly opened 5-star Hotels called the Beach Rotana Residences, based in Abu Dhabi. My role consisted of handling their Public Relations, Events Management, and overseeing their social media strategy. Alongside this I also supported the agency's strategy and innovation consultancy at the Abu Dhabi Municipality.

The best thing about my role was how dynamic it was; how different and unpredictable every day was from the next. One moment I would be writing press releases and articles for the Hotel in an extremely international environment, and the next I would be working in the Government; challenging myself with my Arabic and organising high profile events on exciting topics like Artificial Intelligence, bringing together very important people from across all industries and sectors.

I studied Consumer Behaviour and Marketing with the idea that I would one day run my own marketing agency, making a positive contribution to society and representing clients across all industries. Working in this role has altered my aspirations slightly, as I would now like to focus on developing my skills towards management rather than marketing. So, next I will be undertaking a short Business Development training program at Havas Group in Czech Republic.

I chose to study at Reading for many reasons, including its large International community. I chose my course because it was unique and covered two areas I was interested in. Studying at Reading has given me a background on marketing and its theories, and more importantly has taught me to begin thinking like a marketer. It has also exposed me to a network of students with similar and different mind-sets, teaching me about things I never would have known otherwise. It has provided me with a foundation from which I can build my experiences.

In my third year, I undertook a placement with VMware - a subsidiary of Dell Technologies that provide cloud computing and platform visualisation software and services. As a Channel and Alliances Intern I was responsible for part of the channel of communications, having an oversight of different projects, and being the first point of contact for the Channel Team. This management focused role was very helpful because I was able to grasp a wider feel for the business and develop more transferrable managerial skills.

Moving from my home in Ethiopia, to the UK for university, then to Japan for my study abroad and finally to Abu Dhabi for my first official job, re-iterated to me the importance of having international experience and learning new languages. It helps to develop an out-of-the-box mentality and confidence, which is crucial in this fast-paced, competitive world.

My time at Reading was challenging, fun and memorable, there are so many opportunities to grow and develop your skills and build life-long relationships.

 

Name: Nicholas Jones

BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing, 2nd year student (2007)

"Consumer Behaviour and Marketing involves a wide range of disciplines that captured my interest from the very beginning. Such a varied course allows me to tailor it to how I want to study, making the course my own.

In my first year I have enjoyed combining both psychology and business into a degree that I can apply to almost anything - and I look forward to building a course that truly fits me."


Name: Danae Riley

BSc Consumer Behaviour and Marketing, 2nd year student (2007)

"As a person who is fascinated by why people behave the way they do, I was immediately attracted to the consumer behaviour and marketing course. This course particularly interested me as there were a range of psychology modules included. These were also accompanied by a selection of other options including marketing, management and economics which allowed me to explore how consumers influence the socioeconomic environment. I really enjoy this course because in the third and final year I am able to focus on my specific area of interest which is advertising and branding as well as more psychology modules such as cognition."

BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics

 Lydia HugillName: Lydia Hugill

Programme: BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics

Job title: Account Manager

Working for: B&B Studio, Shoreditch, London

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2016, and I am now working for B&B Studio, specialists in brand creation, identity and packaging design.

Since graduating, I have worked for two of the countries most acclaimed design agencies, with some iconic brands such as Cathedral City and Mr Kipling. Throughout my career so far, I worked on a multi award-winning Limited-Edition product for Badger Ales, as well as helping to launch a number of pioneering new brands into market.

B&B Studio is made up of 25 team members including: a design team, a strategy team, a production team, and a client services team. The agency often works with start-ups (who generally approach us with no brand name) to help create their brand. Our strategy, design and client services teams work closely to map out a brand strategy and how this can be portrayed through design. Some of our brands include Brewdog, Propercorn, Pip & Nut, and Dalston's.

My role as an Account Manager is diverse and no two days are the same. As a client-facing member of the team it is my responsibility to take on projects from clients, brief the design team, and manage the process bringing a design or brand from concept to execution. I am also involved in reviewing and feeding back on work, presenting to clients, assisting in the production process, and controlling and negotiating project finances.

Working with brands that I love gives me a huge amount of satisfaction. It is especially enjoyable being involved in brand creation projects at the earliest stage and seeing the brand become more and more successful and well-known over time. Working for an award-winning agency that is renowned for pushing the boundaries of design is extremely rewarding, as well as building strong and sustainable client relationships.

In my third year of University I completed a placement with The Walt Disney Company, in their FMCG product development department. Whilst there I worked hands-on throughout the process of designing product and packaging for Disney's licensed products. I managed the product development process with both large and small FMCG companies such as Nestlé, Unilever, Chuppa Chups and GoodFellas. I also often worked hand-in-hand with design agencies during my placement, which encouraged me to explore that area of the industry further, which I did through completing a month-long internship with the agency, Big Fish.

Whilst at University I had imagined myself working within the Marketing team for a small to medium sized food/drink brand. However, I have always had a passion for art and graphic design and I have now developed an affinity with packaging design, often choosing brands because of the way their packaging looks. I now get to work with a number of the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands that I love whilst being part of the entire branding and design process.

Studying at Reading provided me with the knowledge and support that I needed to kick-start my career in the food industry. The quality and breadth of teaching as well as the encouragement and advice helped me to find a career path which was right for me.

The breadth of modules available gave me a huge advantage when starting in the workplace. My holistic understanding of the food industry as a whole meant that I already had some of the skills and knowledge essential to my day-to-day work, which I still call upon every day now. The balance of autonomy and support provided throughout my final year was especially beneficial and helped me to write a dissertation about something I was genuinely interested in, which eventually played a role in securing my first graduate job.

My experience at Reading was extremely positive. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, earned some invaluable life experience and gained some friends for life.

 

James RobinsonName: James Robinson

Programme: BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics

Job title: Operation Strategy Analyst

Working for: Waitrose (John Lewis Partnership)

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2015 and I am now working for Waitrose helping to shape and develop a transformational, best in class operating model.

As an Operational Strategy Analyst I work within the Business Transformation Hub, acting as an internal consultant working collaboratively across functional teams to provide insight and recommend strategic solutions. I also support the implementation of these strategies to ensure partner and customer proposition are delivered with operational excellence.

However, my role is far more than number crunching a data analysis, using a hypothesis led approach I question and shape solutions to drive improvements across the business which are critical to the delivery of the future business plan.

Working within a directorate agnostic department provides me with a broad exposure to a number of different teams and areas. Each day is different, in which on any one day I can simultaneously be working on several projects which span multiple departments around the business. This provides me with a greater understanding of how the business operates, and allows me to consistently stretch and challenge my thinking.

Whilst studying I was certain I wanted to work for a company that was involved in food retail and held a similar set of values and beliefs as my own. However, I also wanted to work in an industry which was fast paced, centred on innovation and serving a vast number of customers on a weekly basis. My role at Waitrose holds all of these attributes.

Since starting my job I have achieved a number of things which include: holding the position of Store Manager at Waitrose, leading a team of over 40 Partners within 8 months of starting on the scheme; helping to develop and define the internal make up and design of over 50 Waitrose branches as part of a large scale regeneration project; supporting the ongoing development of the Waitrose Operating Model to deliver a best in class Partner and Customer proposition.

There were three main reasons why I chose to study at Reading. Firstly, the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development was consistently ranked at the top of the University league tables. Secondly, during all my visits to the University I was encouraged by enthusiasm and approachability of all the teaching staff that I met and spoke to. There always appeared to be genuine investment of interest in me as an individual that left me feeling confident that the staff were committed to my education and quality of learning. Finally, the structure of the degree programme, the quality and breadth of modules and the opportunity to complete a year in industry demonstrated that I had the chance to curate my own learning path, choosing modules around my interests that would be useful for my future. This was also supported by the facilities available within the school, and across campus.

During my third year I completed a placement year at Waitrose, working within their Brand Development and Product Innovation Department. I found the experience hugely rewarding, allowing me to gain first-hand experience in a company that was aligned with my future career aspirations, and that related so well to the modules that I had been studying for the previous two years. Completing a placement gave me great perspective for my final year, in which across all of my assignments, exams and dissertation I was able to apply my experience back into my work using real life examples. The practical knowledge that I had gained enabled me to piece together clear linkages between the theoretical elements we were learning and my placement, stretching the way I thought about and approached new work. Having a year's worth of experience also helped me in securing a graduate job after University.

My degree was structured in a way that balanced learning between general business practices and specialist topics that centres around food, food retail and supply chain. The teaching methods and enthusiasm of the teaching staff created an environment where it was easy to learn and apply theoretical knowledge into industry examples and real life work. The focus given to group work enabled us all to develop and play with our own personal styles, building strong interpersonal and communication skills that have been of great importance in my work.

My four years were not without challenge but I left Reading with a far more diverse and grounded understanding for the industry I was about to enter all supported by fond memories and the wide social network I had built.

 

Name: Vicky Barnes

BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics, graduated 2007

Student life at Reading university for me was both challenging and rewarding academically with non-stop fun and exciting social events creating the perfect balance. In short, a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The FMBE course provided me with an essential framework of skills that could be used in a whole range of careers. Reading is the only university that dedicates 5 credits of every degree to CMS (career management skills). This module helps students to focus on their career aspirations and draw out action plans for the future.

I have found this particularly useful in developing my long-term goals in which I hope to pursue a career in marketing or product development within the fast-moving consumer goods industry.


Name: Will Vaughan-France

BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics, graduated 2006

I chose The University of Reading because of its excellent reputation in Agriculture and Food. The Food Marketing and Business Economics course provides a thorough grounding in the principles on which the food industry functions with Economics, Marketing, Business and Supply Chain Management being key course components. Particular highlights of the course are working with a real life client on a group project, this was enjoyable and was an excellent way of developing skills in communicating and presenting ideas. The course is firmly grounded in real life making its elements relevant and stimulating

The Department is very sociable with excellent staff, both teaching and administrative which provides an ideal environment for 3 years of study. The University benefits from a lively students union with superb facilities, this goes along with Reading town centre's wide range of bars and pubs to suit all tastes. This has been a fabulous place to study for the last 3 years.


Name: Joanne Gunn

BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics, graduated 2004

"I can't imagine a more jam-packed and varied course than FMBE. Where else could you juggle visits to organic farms and chocolate factories with insights into consumer marketing, some pretty hard core economics and of course the chance to taste 'real work' on a project with an exciting company in the food industry. It simply covers every part of the food chain from farm to fork, and gears you up perfectly for a career in any FMCG company. Add to this the fab campus and even better shops and bars of Reading, and you've got yourself the perfect degree experience.

Having a Food specific degree from such a respected red brick uni opened up so many doors when applying for graduate jobs, and after 2 years on the grad scheme at Unilever I now work as a commercial manager for a pretty cool little company called Innocent who make smoothies. The wealth of business skills and awareness learnt during FMBE has given me a real head start in both companies - and the passion I've built up for the food industry makes work almost a pleasure..."


Name: James Sully

BSc Food Marketing and Business Economics, graduated 2004

Coming to Reading to study Food Marketing and Business Economics was an excellent decision. Initially, I chose the course because it offered a challenging mix of theory in the core disciplines of economics, business management and marketing combined with a practical application to the food industry. Once there I found the course offered all this and much more. A chance to work for KP McVities on a group market research project provided valuable transferable skills in data analysis, team working and report writing. The wide range of optional modules available such as Supply Chain Management and Business Entrepreneurship adds breadth to the course allowing other avenues of interest to be explored. Reading is a great place to study, campus life is exciting and the Department has enthusiastic and approachable staff.

Since graduating I have worked as a research assistant within the Department where I was able to use and develop the analytical and presentational skills gained throughout my degree course. Currently, I am studying for a PhD relating to the food sector, researching people's access to a healthy diet in rural areas of England.

 

Jed knaggsName: Jed Knaggs

Programme: BSc Agricultural Business Management with Placement Year

Job title: Lead Glasshouse Strawberry Grower

Working for: The Summer Berry Company.

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2018, and now work for The Summer Berry Company in Chichester, as a Glasshouse Strawberry Grower.

As part of a team, we are responsible for the management of strawberry production, within an industry-leading 25 hectare glasshouse facility. I am personally responsible for eight overseeing 16 hectares of glasshouse strawberries within the facility and therefore must manage all fertigation, climate management, integrated pest management and general glasshouse growing to ensure crops are of the best quality possible to meet the demands from consumers whilst ensuring agronomic decisions are alligned with budgets and best commercial practice. Another key responsibility I have to undertake is to ensure all agronomic decisions are aligned with budgets, while maintaining the company's high quality reputation.

The aspect I enjoy most about my role is harvest time and getting to see what the end product Is - tonnes and tonnes of strawberries which leave the glasshouse in fantastic condition. It is great to see such a tangible result of myself and the team's hard work throughout the year, especially knowing that these berries will be sold fresh and unprocessed and we really are responsible for the 'final' product.

This role was a logical progression from my studies. During the first year of my degree I became fascinated by horticultural crop production and was fortunate to be able to organise my placement year with a large soft-fruit grower. This then led to my final year studies, based around experiments and into out-of-season strawberry production, growing a February crop in one of the University's glasshouses.

Studying at Reading introduced me to the complex science of food production and gave me exposure to a massive range of topics I had very little knowledge of, such as; environmental management and ecology; supply chain management and many more. As someone without a farming background, to be able to go and visit farms every two weeks or so, really helped me to understand agricultural systems as a whole and complimented the rest of the course very well.

I chose to study at Reading as it appeared (and still does) to be the UK's leading Agricultural University and had really great facilities for studying agriculture, whilst still being able to get the 'University experience' of mixing with people from other disciplines and areas of interest.

My placement took place at Hall Partnership's Sheeplands Farm, following a class visit to the site as part of a horticulture module. Whilst being my first proper experience of horticultural production on a large scale, this year was also vital to my professional development. Being able to take a year away from classroom-based studies and go learn from real professions as well as taking on responsibility and independently managed projects, was a huge help and made me better able to handle post-graduate employment.

Since leaving the University, shortly after graduation, I was awarded The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers Student Prize for achievement in horticulture which was mainly on the basis of my placement year and dissertation. I am also proud to have contributed to the production of well over 2,000 tonnes of fantastic English berries.

Overall, I really feel I gained a fantastic education of agricultural systems and couldn't have found a better place to do so. My experience was ten out of ten and I can't overstate how fondly I look back at my time at Reading.

 

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