Nurturing the industry’s next generation

Keen to nurture the industry’s next generation of talent we offered Harper Adams University students the opportunity of a one-year work placement. The successful applicant Harry Rigby joined the company in early July. We caught up with Harry to find out more about him, his first impressions of working for Lely and what he hopes to achieve during his year with the company.



Welcome to Lely, Harry! Tell us about yourself and where you are studying

I’m in my third year of the BEng Agricultural Engineering course at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. It includes a 12-month work placement where we gain experience in the industry before going back to college for the final year of the course.

Do you have a farming background?

Yes, my family have a beef and sheep farm and trailer sales business in Cheshire.

How did you become interested in engineering?

We have always had vintage tractors on the farm at home and I used to spend weekends tinkering with those. I’ve always been interested in farming and how things work so agricultural engineering was the obvious choice when I was choosing what to study at university. I visited several universities but Harper Adams was the clear choice for me as I felt there were lots of like-minded people there and it has a really friendly environment.

Why did you want to spend your placement year with Lely?

There were lots of reasons. I wanted to get more experience and knowledge of the dairy industry and I was keen to learn more about automation on farms. It also gave me the chance to experience working for a large international company and how it works down the chain to Lely Center level and to gain more commercial experience.

What will you be doing during your placement?

I will be based at the new offices at Quartz Point in Birmingham and will work across multiple departments over the year. I’ve already spent time with the Finance department and I am now working in Customer Solutions. I am particularly enjoying visiting farms which either already have Lely robots or who are planning to install them. I will also spend a few months in Technical Support Services and then I will be able to choose where I spend the final few months. The variety of the placement was one of the reasons I was so keen to work for Lely.

Has anything surprised you so far about the company?

I have been surprised by how friendly and welcoming everyone has been. There has been no awkwardness, and everyone has been more than happy to help me and answer questions.

What Lely product impresses you the most?

It has to be the Lely A5 Astronaut milking robot for the fact that it is working 24/7 and for the calm and relaxing atmosphere it helps create for the cows. The Discovery is also a brilliant robot helping to keep the farm clean and creating a healthier environment for the cows. I can really see how valuable that is in a farm situation.

What are your career aspirations after graduating?

Well it would be amazing to work for Lely in the future, but whatever I do I would like to be in a technical role – seeing how things work on a day to day basis.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work or University?

Football and farming! I enjoy playing in the university football team but otherwise I am kept busy working on the farm at home.

Interested in applying for a placement year at Lely Atlantic? Send a copy of your CV and covering letter to: