Mike Draper


Mike Draper

When did you join the RAU and what brought you here?

I joined the RAU in September 2014. It’s the RAU who wouldn’t want to work here?.

How did you get into Agriculture?

I come from a family farm and, for me, agriculture is in the blood. There was never a time that I didn’t want to be involved in the industry in one way or another.

What made you go into teaching?

I did not enjoy school as much as I should! Leaving school I went to work on a local dairy farm. After a couple of years I calculated that, perhaps, I was not in the best position for long term career prospects. I then went to an Agricultural County College to gain, at least, a qualification. College suited me (being treated as an adult and learning about farming – what would there be not to like). Within the first week, being exposed to lecturers, instead of teachers, I thought that would be a good job. After quite a few years at college and university I finally became a lecturer.

What do you enjoy about it?

What is there not to enjoy – discussing and learning about a subject that I love. Being around like minded, passionate people (students and staff), who have a vast range of experiences and knowledge, which we all share and gain from.

What would be your top tips for anyone thinking of starting a UG/PG course?

  • Start a course that is in a subject area that you are passionate about. Success will be never far away.
  • Enrol at a university that suits you – listen to yourself in where you feel you would want to study.

How would you describe life at the RAU/Cirencester?

No other University I am aware of has such cohesion and interconnectivity between courses. Students on the equine degrees mix freely with those studying property and land management. As such life at Cirencester is defined by variety, and inclusivity (no two days are the same and you are always meeting new people from different cultures). We are a rural University united by a love of the countryside and the animals within it. However, our reach goes much further than that, due to the global outlook which embraces broader interests in business and science.

What makes it distinctive/special?

We are a small University. For me, therefore, it is the sense of community which sets the RAU apart from larger institutions. 

What’s your favourite spot on campus and why?

The dissection lab. There’s only one way to learn about horse anatomy and that’s via guided dissection. It may not always look (or smell) that pretty but the study of anatomical form and function still captivates me.

What are your top Cirencester recommendations?

  • Engage fully with the range of extra-curricular learning activities such as those run by the entrepreneurial society and research committee. There’s so much going on aside from your regular timetabled activities. 
  • Learn to network effectively and make sure that you meet students studying in a range of different areas. These will become your list of contacts after you leave.
  • Try something new. Our rural innovation centre offers a diverse range of courses (stone walling, trailer tests etc.). You could even join the team chasing club or take up Beagling!