George Peart’s interest in animal science started at a young age growing up near a sheep farm and riding stables.

The 25-year-old initially chose to study veterinary medicine but after having a change of heart, he got a job with the cattle reproduction company, AB Europe.

He decided to study for an MSc Agricultural Professional Practice at SRUC because of its close ties with industry and government in the form of SAC Consulting and the Scottish Rural Policy Centre. The course also meant he could continue to work full-time.

After three years of part-time study, he has been awarded a merit award and has accepted a place on a graduate management scheme with world-leading animal genetics company, Genus.

George, who lives in Lauder, in the Scottish Borders, said: “The Agricultural Professional Practice layout meant I could combine my coursework with real life business topics at work. I love both the scientific and business areas of farming, so it was great to have the freedom to pick modules that covered both.

“The lecturers are some of the most approachable I have come across. No matter the issue, they are always just a phone call away.

“They also found the right balance of helping us through trickier subject areas, but also giving us enough freedom to learn and study what interested us most. The guest lecturers from industry helped to make the topics we were taught current and challenging.”

While he found it challenging combining work with study, the course offered fantastic opportunities, which included joining a research workshop with the Rare Breed Survival Trust alongside economists from the Scottish Rural Policy Centre – an experience which became the main inspiration for his final year thesis.

His agricultural policy research was also presented at a conference, in Vancouver, and at the Scottish Biennial Land Use Conference, in Edinburgh, and he was able to use his holidays to join an internship-style programme run by Genus, where he experienced cattle genetics and reproduction work all over the UK in a variety of farming systems.

Looking to the future he said: “I’m joining Genus’s graduate scheme in September, which offers three six-month rotations across their different business areas, including six months working on the genetics side, then six months with their consultancy company, Promar, and finally six months working abroad experiencing agriculture in a different country.

“I am hoping to experience as much as I can and then choose a route from there.”