Posted 28 February
“I’d always loved the outdoors, testing environments and working hard. All these fitted perfectly into the employment I secured within days of my diagnosis; working on a local farm.
Agriculture provided Thomas Kirby, 22, with an alternative career path and passion when his life-long dream pursuing a military career was suddenly ended with the diagnosis of an eye condition.
The BSc (Hons) Agriculture, from Haselor, Warwickshire, said: “My enrolment onto the course at Harper Adams evolved from the thwarting of a life-long dream to become a military officer.
“A degenerative eye disorder was met with successful surgery within a matter of months, however a change of career was needed instantly. I’d always loved the outdoors, testing environments and working hard. All these fitted perfectly into the employment I secured within days of my diagnosis; working on a local farm.
“Having lost one dream I had found another; swapping camouflage for tweed and a rifle for a shotgun but keeping the appalling British weather, I was set.
“Working on the mixed arable farm for eighteen months taught me the foundation for arable practices and I was able to work under an extremely knowledgeable and respected farm manager.
“I saw Harper Adams for its renowned reputation and excellent facilities as the perfect setting to study agriculture.”
To help his career progress in the area, Tom has recently been awarded a scholarship from Syngenta, which includes a placement year.
On receiving his scholarship, Tom said: “This provides me with a great chance to work for a prestigious company which will only benefit me in my future aspirations to enter agronomy.
“I’ve learnt from recent employment the wealth of information such a prospect has to offer. It’ll allow me to learn from my colleagues’ individual experiences within the company and industry.
“I see this scholarship as a stepping stone into my potential future. It’s a chance I hope to exploit to its fullest potential and to fully prove my worth within the offered position.”