Writtle University College graduates celebrated the conclusion of their specialist courses at two ceremonies at Chelmsford Cathedral.
With many of the students embarking on study at Writtle, near Chelmsford, in order to bring their passion for their subject to life, they are now set with an applied qualification and practical experience for the industries and sectors they wish to work in.
According to the latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 91% of Writtle University College graduates last year were in employment or further study six months after graduation – and the prospects look good for the class of 2018 too!
Emily Abrey, from Saffron Walden, graduated with a BSc Agriculture (Crop Management) and has already started a full-time position as a SoilQuest Account Manager with agronomy firm Agrii.
She said: “Experience in this industry is crucial when job hunting and I’m grateful for the flexibility Writtle provided, which enabled me to work two days a week with Agrii’s Research & Development team while studying for my degree.
“Working at Agrii has ground-truthed what we learnt in class and it was really useful seeing some of the issues in a real-life situation. It also enabled me to build key contacts within the industry and develop my knowledge to a higher level.”
Eleanor Hosegood, from Burnham-on-Crouch, graduated with a BSc (Hons) Landscape and Garden Design with First Class Honours. She said: “The course covered a broad range of skills that are needed in the industry, which allowed me to discover my passions and develop my skills in areas that were weaker.
“Since graduating, I have been working at Liz Lake Associates, where I have been able see how all the skills I have learnt can come together in real-life projects, whilst working together in a team similar to the studio environment at Writtle.”
Adam Newson, from Brentwood, graduated with a BSc (Hons) Landscape and Garden Design with First Class Honours and is continuing to study at Writtle for an MA Landscape Architecture.
He said: “The graduation ceremony was a great way for us all to celebrate our achievements! The community you’re part of at Writtle, and the fact that you’re treated as an individual with lots of access to lecturers, has made my experience both fun and educational.”
Lauren Hunt, from Rayleigh, is one of the first graduates from the Integrated Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy, which she passed with distinction. She said: “The course gave me confidence and the clinical, practical skills I needed to walk straight into a hydro/physio job at Buddies+ in Colchester. I am also lucky enough to remain at Writtle in a lecturing position, which I jumped at because of the amazing lecturers there, who I can continue to learn from, and the friendly environment. I love working in my dream job and look forward to the many challenges to come!”
Sophie Allen, from Kesgrave near Ipswich, also graduated from the Integrated Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy, said: “My course gave me the skills and 'tool box' needed to approach cases successfully as a Veterinary Physiotherapist. I am currently working at K9HS as part of the team of Veterinary Physiotherapists, and also starting up my own self-employed business alongside this.”
At the ceremonies, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, Founding Chancellor, gave an address to inspire graduates, in which she drew on her extensive parliamentary and international charity experience.
Born in Hatfield Peverel and married to Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and North Essex, she told graduates that she believed they had “the power to change the world” with technology at their command that no other generation could dream of.
This year’s Graduation Ceremonies were all the more special as it is the 125th anniversary of Writtle University College.
Established in 1893 as the County Laboratories, its portfolio of courses has branched out from its agricultural and horticultural roots, with a range of animal, equine, business, sport and design programmes as well as study in Bioveterinary Science and Veterinary Physiotherapy.
College-level courses, Apprenticeships, and short courses join degrees and postgraduate awards.
Vice- Chancellor Professor Tim Middleton recounted some of the year’s highlights, including a partnership with the agricultural engineering company Crawfords, a £2million investment in equine stud facilities, a new Higher Education Study Hub, and the launch of an Equine Academy.
“This year is our 125th anniversary and I am very proud to be Vice-Chancellor of an institution with such distinguished alumni,” he said.
“Those graduating this year now join this group, which includes government ministers and leaders of successful land-based businesses. We look forward to hearing about what they go on to achieve as the newest members of the worldwide family of Writtle graduates.”
· Apply now and join a University College where 89.2% of final year undergraduates said they were satisfied with the teaching on their course with increases in overall satisfaction in every area of the National Student Survey 2018.
· Find out which specialist course is right for you at writtle.ac.uk
Legendary horticulturist and journalist receives Honorary Degree!
Celebrating with graduates at the morning ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral was Peter Seabrook MBE, the well-known horticultural journalist and consultant, who was given an Honorary Degree from Writtle University College.
Peter, who studied at Writtle in the 1950s, has gone onto a distinguished career. He is gardening editor at The Sun - after more than 40 years – and was a presenter on Pebble Mill at One on BBC 1, Gardeners World on BBC 2, the BBC’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage and, for 20 years, on Coast to Coast on PBS in North America.
“There are hundreds, indeed thousands, like me who have a debt of gratitude to Writtle for their education and their friendships,” he said.
In his address to students, he showed why he has had such success in broadcasting, provoking many laughs when he produced a spade: “As a ten-year-old at a village school when 50 of us were taught by one master, I never would have thought I would fly across the Atlantic on Concorde twice; hover over an active volcano in Hawaii with a producer urging me to say insightful things when I could only think of the incineration waiting below; meet most members of the royal family; fly to Los Angeles, meet up with the TV crew there and fly on to New Zealand, stay in six hotels, travel on seven more flights and return home at the end of the week with six, 30-minute programmes on tape.
“And it’s all because of this. A spade. It just happens that I could use it better than most people!”