I didn't have any doubts about coming here, because of the amount of farmers in Zimbabwe, they kept saying go to the Royal Agriculture University. Not only have I met really fantastic friends, but I feel like I've made some good contacts here. The common aim with our courses, is to set the bigger picture of the environment being the area in which we must all operate. It's all about giving different experience, of different farming systems, under different environmental challenges and conditions.
What are the linkages? What are the trade-offs, between food production,agriculture and the environment? I think that's what I like it so much, it's very much a discussion, so you get really involved and everybody says their opinion, and their insights, and it's really interesting.The style of teaching here, is a real blend of academic, applied, and practical. You just get to go out and work with different conservation organisations, that's what's really important, talking to different people. It's a great opportunity, for me to understand the in situ and ex situ conservation. The value, from the students point of view, is trying to give them a different definition of farming and agriculture. It's not all about output, it's about enhancing the environment. It shows that there's ways of making money, and ways of making a business work which, aren't necessarily how you've been brought up with.
If people are interested specifically, in a more practical career at the start, then we have a rural skill centre, we have bursaries, where they can develop their skills passport. Having a qualification, such as a chainsaw LANTRA, going into the land-based sector they're absolutely crucial, in identifying you asa useful employee. We are trying to educate, enhance their professionalism, integrate them into the industry and make them feel like they are open to every challenge that society can throw at them.
The facilities here are fantastic, they have a laboratory which we use for seed sampling. You learn everything about tractors, the balers, combine harvesters, exactly what you need to know. The opportunity for young people that are coming onto these courses is that they will be part of the solutions. After university it's a firm plan, to use what I've learnt here, to do a great job of farming.