Agricultural students at Harper Adams University have been honoured for outstanding performance during their placement year at a special awards ceremony.

Staff, students, parents and employers attended the annual event in the Regional Food Academy on Friday, where they were welcomed by the Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn.

Two awards were presented including the Andrew Lewis Trophy, for best overall performance by a BSc Agriculture student, and the Natwest Placement Awards, for students following Foundation degree programmes.

Terry Pickthall, Placement Manager, said: "This event is held each year to recognise the achievements of our Agricultural students on placement.

"Every single one of our Agriculture students successfully secured 12-month placements in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 2013 looks to be heading the same way, with more than 90 per cent of students placed and the final deadline not until September, despite a record cohort of nearly 180 students.

"Each nominee within this room has embraced the spirit of our 12-month placement with a strong and enthusiastic commitment to their employer and placement assignments, delivering excellent results across the board.

"I know that most of you already have jobs lined up after graduation, with at least two of you returning to the employers you worked for on placement.

"Each employer that is with us today underlines the commitment and passion we enjoy from those who want to help the industry move forward in the future.

"I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all our employers for their continued support of Harper Adams placements."

The Andrew Lewis Trophy is awarded in memory of former Agriculture student Andrew Lewis.

Andrew's mother Sheila has visited the university for the past 29 years to present the prize, which was this year awarded to Helen Wilson, from Elmsett, Ipswich.

Helen, who is studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture, did her placement with Farm Business Consultants Andersons Northern based in Midlothian.

The 28-year-old, who will start working for RAGT Seeds Ltd near Cambridge once she graduates, said: "I was surprised to get an email saying I had been nominated and it was an even bigger surprise to win when considering who else was nominated, but I'm delighted to have won.

"It is nice that placement is recognised as such an important part of the degree course.

"My placement gave me a really good understanding of how farm businesses operate financially and how important that is to the success of a farm."

Runners up for the award were Isobel Bowden, Sam Daw, Jane Phillips, Sam Read and Thomas Webb.

Also presented at the event were the Natwest Placement Awards. Ian Burrow, Natwest Head of Renewable Energy & Agriculture, presented awards to three students -- first prize winner Emma Slater, second prize winner Joel Westaway, and third prize winner Sam Adams.

Emma, from near Lowestoft, Suffolk, is studying FdSc Agriculture and did her placement with Dalehead Foods Ltd in Cambridge.

The 21-year-old, who has applied to top-up to a full honours degree, said: "I'm very pleased and extremely grateful that I have won this prize, but I would not have won it without the support of my employers and the opportunity they provided me with.

"Having done my placement, I feel like I have progressed and developed both my personal and professional skills which will benefit me in my future career."

Joel, from Driffield, North Humberside, is studying FdSc Agriculture with Mechanisation and did his placement at Bryn Farm in Ceredigion.

The 22-year-old, who will return to work at Bryn Farm after completing his course, said: "I'm really pleased I got second and would like to say a big well done to Emma -- she really deserved to win.

"I would like to thank my boss Huw Jones for trusting me and allowing me the opportunities he did and look forward to returning there after graduation to start working for him."

Sam, from near Daventry, Northamptonshire, is studying FdSc Agriculture and did his placement year at Trebersed Farm Partnership, in Carmarthenshire.

The 22-year-old, who will return to work where he did his placement once he has graduated, said: "I'm really pleased to have been nominated and to have come third. I really enjoyed my placement and it was a really great experience. I learned many skills and really gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities."

The runners up for the award were Katie James, Tom Potter, Josh Murphy and Edwin Malpass.

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