Open to Ideas
- Credit: Submitted
Easton and Otley College helped Anna Purser, 20, from Ravingham after an operation made her rethink plans to become a proffessional jockey
“I STARTED riding horses when I was four. I’ve always loved riding and horse racing. I go to a race meeting every year for my birthday. But a serious operation on my back changed everything. The risk of falling off a horse at 40 miles per hour (after my operation) was too high.
“I even had a chat with Frankie Dettori about it. I bumped into him at a race meeting in Newmarket. He was a nice chap and gave me some good advice. He said you have to look after yourself. So this clarified my fears and made me realise that I had to look at alternative career options.”
Anna went to Norwich High School for Girls and studied A-Levels. After her results she had a decision to make.
“Careers advice at schools seems to be changing for the better. I think that in the past, schools have always tried pushing students towards Oxbridge and careers like medicine. However, I believe that’s changing. We had a new headmaster at the time who was more open-minded to other career options.
“One of the career options that I came across was farming. I had a family member who was a tenant farmer at the Raveningham estate and this sparked an interest. When I was at school we covered elements of agriculture within geography. I also had to get involved in some work experience and decided to try farming and found it was something I enjoyed. It really interested me. So I checked out local options and began a foundation degree in agriculture at the Norfolk campus of Easton and Otley College in September 2014. I’m now in my second year, and after this I’m going to study on a full honours top-up option at Easton and Otley.
“So far, in addition to my course, I’ve helped out at the college’s annual lambing weekend. I’m involved in a national farming challenge called The Cereals Challenge (a competition the college has won two years running). I’ve applied to attend the Oxford Farming conference – an event that puts you face to face with farming ministers and royalty. I’m currently working on a business project with the Three Counties Show where you have to come up with ideas to help make the show more profitable. And our lecturer (Dr Tony Wilson) went to Idaho last year and he is trying to set up an exchange programme in America that I hope to be a part of.
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“All that aside, I was invited to take part in a fashion shoot to help promote the college and all its courses in this very magazine last year. It’s been a really good 18 months and I have no regrets about the career choice I’ve made.”
Agricultural lecturer Tony Wilson, says: “Anna is one of many students to embrace our burgeoning HE agricultural programme. All our courses are affiliated with the University of East Anglia. As part of the course, we like to offer our students as many additional industry experiences as possible. We have had a group which has competed in a ploughing competition in Estonia. We want to give our students the very best opportunity to get the skills, qualifications and experiences they need to become the farming business leaders of tomorrow.”