Agriculture student Harry Sprague has seized the opportunity to combine his two great passions in life at Hartpury College – farming and rugby.
He is dedicating his efforts to securing a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture at the same time as being a committed member of Hartpury’s Elite Rugby Academy Squad.
With Hartpury tailoring academic and training timetables to suit student athletes, Harry is determined to maximise his chances of achieving academic and sporting success.
“I came to Hartpury because it allowed me to do agriculture and sport at the same time and there aren’t many colleges, if any, that can give you that option,” said Harry, who also plays for the Gloucester Rugby Academy.
“It means that I’m able to do something that I love – farming – as well as wanting to play rugby to a high standard. That’s the main thing that I drew me to the place.
“My tutors are brilliant in providing me with flexibility around my timetabling, making sure I’m up to date with the agriculture course and freeing up time for me to train and play rugby.”
From a farming background, Harry is enjoying the vast range of opportunities to expand his knowledge of agriculture practises and livestock provided on campus at Hartpury’s commercial farm, where the facilities include a modern milking parlour.
Hartpury, which has strong industry links, is also one of only a few colleges in the UK that offer the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture qualification with a work placement for its students.
“The course is brilliant,” said Harry. “As I’m from a dairy background, I’m finding it extremely interesting to learn about other aspects of farming that I wouldn’t have learned at home.
“It’s opening up my horizons and also going into more depth about things that I already knew from growing up on a farm.
“The facilities on the farm are excellent. I’d love to have the dairy parlour at home!
“We have regular duties to perform as part of the course and it is like working on a real farm.”
Harry has only to walk a few minutes from the farm to reach another of his favourite destinations on Hartpury’s specialist 360-hectare campus – the Sports Academy.
Students at Hartpury, training base of Gloucester Rugby’s senior players, have access to a range of world-class facilities.
The new £8.8 million Sports Academy includes a biomechanics laboratory featuring the few high-resolution digital mirrors in the UK, a rehabilitation suite featuring an anti-gravity treadmill, and a human performance laboratory with an altitude chamber, and a sports hall.
“Hartpury has created an excellent sports environment to be involved in – it’s so professional,” said Harry.
“The level of coaching we receive and the facilities that we have access to, are outstanding.
“For me as a rugby player, it’s so impressive to have the Gloucester Rugby players on campus all the time – it gives you something to aspire to.
“My dream is to become a professional rugby player and I will take that as a far as I can, but I’m pleased that whatever happens I will always have farming to fall back on.”
Picture: Harry Sprague outside the Hartpury Sports Academy