Bridgette Baker: Uni is a not-to-be-missed opportunity

If you’ve got the option of going to university, it’s worth giving it good consideration.

I applied to do an agriculture degree as I wanted to be more prepared before getting into the industry, whether that involved taking on some management of the beef and arable enterprise at home or taking employment elsewhere.

You can work a job your whole life, so uni is a great opportunity to boost your knowledge, open doors to your ideal job, or set you up if you ever need to make a plan B. If you’re a bit of a workaholic, don’t worry – that attitude will help get the most out of a university degree, too.

See also: Bridgette Baker – in lockdown, your YFC needs your support

Some young farmers fear it will be like an extension of school, with a lot of time sat in front of a screen. Ag degrees, however, are designed to support personal development and the vacations are long, so you will still be out there farming, not stuck at your laptop 24/7.

Once I finished my Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture at Hartpury College, I felt like I had a great grounding, especially after the placement year which taught me a) I can farm, and b) how crucial it is to get experience. But having a degree alongside relevant work experience really makes for a stand-out CV. 

A degree allows you, as well as others, to see your potential. It will boost your confidence in any job role, and offers can become more likely in positions such as farm management or supervisor, which you may not have considered before.

I chose the Royal Agricultural University mainly because it was close to home. It also meant I could make new contacts but stay close to those I’d built during my time at Hartpury. I have already done business with a contact from university who breeds Oxford Sandy and Black cross Duroc pigs just five miles from me.

Having got addicted to farming and challenging myself every day, I was apprehensive about going to university, but I underestimated how informative and useful the experience would be, and I’m looking forward to what the second year brings, especially with fewer Covid restrictions.

I have grown up valuing education. As my dad often says: “Every day’s a school day.”