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Harper Adams University provides a welcome new challenge for mature student

Posted 28 March

Six years later, and ready for a new challenge, I enrolled to begin a new journey at university."

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Clarrie Hocknell decided after finishing at college at 18 years-old that it wasn’t the right time for her to go to university, and instead got a job in the agricultural sector.

Now, at 25 year old, Clarrie is in her second year of her BSc (Hons) Agri-food Marketing with Business Studies degree and embraces the challenges the course presents, as well as seeing her age as an advantage.

Clarrie, from Whitchurch, Shropshire, said: “Prior to attending Harper, I gained a vast range of work experience in the agricultural sector from a number of jobs.

“Having grown up on a dairy farm, I’ve always had an interest in the farming sector, specifically, in the dairy industry.

“Working at home on our family farm allowed me the chance to develop a keen interest into how the farm operates as a business. I’m very lucky that my father has always encouraged a hands on approach; from attending meetings with the accountant and bank manager, to admin and day to day accounting.

“After leaving college at 18, I took a job advising farmers regarding on-farm genetics for their dairy farms.

“But six years later, and ready for a new challenge, I enrolled to begin a new journey at university.

“The food element of the agri-food degree excited me the most as it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn about. It’s a fast growing industry with a range of job offerings.

“I knew that I could gain a lot by learning about something so pivotal in the future for the UK, as we have a growing population and famers will be driven to produce more through technological advances.

“Not only am I hoping to achieve a degree at the end of my studies, which will allow me the chance to look for work in the marketing and agricultural sector, but I’ll also have gained many benefits which were a core reason for coming to university. These include a greater level of confidence and self-belief.

“It was a big decision to start university at the age of 24. However, I’m looking forward to being able to look back at what I’ve achieved, even though I’ve taken a slightly different path from others my age. Now I believe being an older student gives me the mature-edge over others and I’m very lucky to be able to use my past experience to support me through my academic development.”

Alongside her studies Clarrie is still working full-time on her family farm and is an active member of the Whitchurch Young Farmers Club, as well as being the Shropshire Young Farmers Vice County Chairman.

In recognition of her hard work and dedication, Clarrie has recently been awarded a Lord Leverhulme Scholarship. On this she said: “I’m very thankful for this scholarship. The money will be of benefit in my placement year when I’m hoping to travel in search of a dissertation topic ready for my final year at Harper.

“I’ll also use the money to help towards travel and learning expenses for my course.

“Currently, I’m living at home with my parents and I do struggle financially with the cost of travel to and from university. With this extra help, I’ll be able to worry less about transport and concentrate more on my degree.”