Rural Student Placements at Mount Stuart
I joined the rural team mid-way through a 4 year university degree. During the course, you undertake a year long industrial placement in the third year of study. The third year is structured as a 42 week minimum time spent working in the industry.
The Trust was my first choice out of a long list of options throughout the UK. I had decided early on that I wanted to work in Scotland, so I applied for 3 jobs across Scotland and managed to organise the interviews for them all during a 3 day visit, with Mount Stuart being the first.
I'd be lying if I said that I'd heard of the Isle of Bute prior to applying for the job, so the first time I actually came to visit was for the interview. My dad had to drive me to Bute as I had just had an operation on my left eye. Despite not being able to physically see much of the Island, the bits that I could really impressed me, and the stunning natural landscape was something else. Coming from a University in the South West of England, I was also quite excited by the idea of living and working on an island, and at the very least it would always be an interesting story to tell friends and family in the future.
When I first arrived at Mount Stuart, I was amazed by the the sheer size and grandeur of both the house and its grounds. I was quite taken by the idea of getting to work within the House itself. After all, its not your average rural office. That initial feeling never left during my placement, as I felt that sense of awe on my journey into work each day.
Liaising with tenants and contractors for agricultural repair jobs was a highlight for me. It may only be a fencing job to some, but I felt it was an opportunity to meet many of the different characters from the local community, and I really felt like i'd become a useful contact by the end of the placement. I was grateful for the variety of work I had day to day, and I quite enjoyed working autonomously for the most part. I learned on the job, which I believe was the best way to put my skills into practise. The Mount Stuart team were always on hand to share their expertise and help to develop my knowledge. I feel that the practical skillset gained during my time with the Trust will be really useful in helping with the rest of my studies. It wasn't all fun and games though, and I know that jobs are filled with peaks and troughs. My personal trough happened to be the spreadsheets and filing. Paperwork is certainly something I won't miss.
I will however really miss the lifestyle that the Isle of Bute offered me.
I got a dog called Boo when I moved to the island, so I spent a lot of my free time training him and taking him on long walks. I joined Bute rugby club, and played a couple of matches, including playing in the 7’s tournament on Mull which was a lot of fun. The island is brilliant for sports like shooting and fishing. As life is all about balance, I was also pretty proactive in sampling the local cuisine on the island, and I am perhaps most upset about leaving the home of the 3 in 1 takeaway Munchy box (A must-try if visiting.)
I will be returning to Harper Adams in October to finish my course. Once I have graduated I hope to continue in this line of work, as this year has shown me that it is possible to do a job that you truly love.