Welcome to Hadlow College, Kent's provider of full and part-time qualifications for the rural and land-based sectors.
We offer a large range of courses to suit the needs of many different students. You may soon be finishing school and are considering what to do next, or are looking to develop in your career and need a qualification to take you to the next level. We have over 80 years knowledge of land-based industries, a passion for excellence in everything we do and a reputation within the rural sector of offering courses that meet the needs of employers.
What makes us different?
With campuses across Kent and into south-east London, access to a land-based career is never far away.
Our main site at Hadlow is set in beautiful surroundings, including over 265 acres of arable land, woodland, an equine cross-country course, sports facilities, natural river habitats, commercial farm and horticultural glasshouses. Our Canterbury campus has dedicated animal management facilities with a wide range of species. Students work in their practical lessons to fit the unit out and develop the resources we have over the academic year. The considerable size of the animal unit allows for a large volume of animals, increasing the potential for student-animal contact. In Greenwich, the Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre is part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy and has stabling for 26 horses, as well as an equine spa, water treadmill, hydrotherapy pool, indoor arena, mechanical horse and outdoor manege.
Unlike other colleges, at Hadlow you can also live on-site. We have 160 rooms located in the heart of the main campus, which are arranged in single-sex blocks and offered on either a full-board or half-board basis. All meals are served on-site in the College restaurant which promotes healthy eating, provides a variety of options for a balanced diet and caters for all dietary requirements.
To help you settle in and enjoy your time with us we offer a range of support. The high standards our support reach was recognised during our last Ofsted 'Care Standards' Inspection - once again (for the fourth consecutive time) we received a Grade 1 'outstanding' with no recommendations needed to improve our services.
Students with additional learning needs are supported in a number of different ways. These include individual learning sessions, specialised computer packages, in-class support, screening for dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome, provision of written material in different formats and accessing special exam requirements.
All of this support is available through our study centre and is tailored to the students’s special learning needs.
All our campuses are nice and easy to reach and well served by public transport, being close to either bus stops or train stations. If you have your own car we have free parking spaces available and bike shelters for those students who choose to cycle to College.
Students aged 18 or under (as of 31st August of the year that they start their course), and who live in Kent, are eligible for the Kent 16+ Travel Card. In London, all 16-17 year olds who live in a London Borough are entitled to apply for a 16+ Zip Oyster Photocard, giving free travel on the London bus service, and half-price train tickets within the Oyster card zone.
Bus and train operating companies also offer discounts for students travelling to College.
Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agricultural Engineering
I initially applied to Hadlow College to study a Level 3 course in Countryside Management. After completing a year of study, I decided it wasn’t for me and was going to apply to another college to study Engineering.
Shortly before leaving, I discovered that Hadlow offered an Agricultural Engineering course. Having no farming background, I was sceptical about how I would get on, but with the support and patience of the lecturers, I learnt much in my two years at Hadlow.
I think my favourite thing was the learning curve and challenges that this course presented me. Going from knowing nothing about tractors, I managed to acquire a certain degree of knowledge from the lecturers and then apply this to practical activities.
On top of this, my lecturers were a massive support and friendly faces to go to if I needed help. I don’t think I could have completed my course without their support.
Many memories were made at Hadlow, either in the classroom or the workshop. The study tours that were put on as part of the course were great fun. In my first year, we visited the JCB Factory, and the Jaguar/Land Rover Factory - the technology in both factories was amazing to see.
On completing this course, it was a massive career step, as without this qualification I wouldn't have been able to gain the job I have. I managed to get my current job through completing work experience at Haynes as part of the course.
Since leaving Hadlow, I have spent a large amount of my time on training, learning about New Holland tractors and JCBs; this has been spread between being on training courses and within the workshop, shadowing experienced technicians on how to diagnose and repair machinery. Now a year on, I am starting to go out on jobs unsupervised and am gaining new knowledge and experience each day. Being able to go out to certain jobs alone and being able to diagnose and repair has been a big career highlight for me so far.
My advice to anyone seeking a similar role to mine is: stick with it! Sometimes the learning curve can be extreme, but if you can knuckle down and focus on what you need to learn, you’ll excel. I would also like to advise my fellow girls that it doesn’t matter what negative comments people might have to say about your job, if it’s what you want to do, then prove them wrong and show them exactly what you can do.
Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Animal Management
I became interested in a career working with animals at an early age, sparked by a birds of prey experience day I did when I was nine. I was lucky that Hadlow was local to me, and its specialism gave me additional peace of mind that I would be better supported studying for a career in the sector.
The highlights at Hadlow were many: having constant access to the Animal Management Unit and related facilities, as well as the off-site study trips. My group especially enjoyed our time at Sandwich Bay for the actual trip itinerary, which involved visiting the bird observatory and an evening bat walk with a thermal imaging camera, but also the unexpected moments, such as the opportunity to see barn owls up close.
There are too many good memories for me to pick just one, whether it be the informal yet engaging teaching style and absorbing lessons, the time spent with friends, to the light-hearted moments chatting with the staff. My time at Hadlow not only progressed me academically, but also grew me as a person as well.
My course definitely played a part in securing jobs after leaving Hadlow. Whilst I already had good knowledge and a volunteering position in my chosen specialism - birds of prey and falconry - before starting college, it definitely gave me opportunities to further my knowledge in this topic. It allowed me to broaden my knowledge of other animals and aspects of conservation and ecology through choosing the wildlife pathway in my second year.
A few months before graduating, I was approached by an existing contact offering me a part-time position in a local falconry centre; this was my first paid position. With the support of the staff at the college, this turned into a full-time position.
In early July 2019, I was offered an amazing opportunity to work overseas in Dubai with a reputable falconry business. I jumped at the chance, moved to Dubai and began my current role in mid-September the same year.
My role involves having my own small team of birds, which forms part of a bigger team made up of other birds and my colleagues. We train the birds to be part of demonstrations, presenting to thousands of tourists each year. Education and promoting the continuation of falconry are at the forefront of what we do. We also have trained Harris Hawks for use in eco-friendly bird abatement at some of the 5-star hotels and other venues across Dubai.
No two days are the same and you never know what could be happening next, although a big part of my job is to predict this as best as possible!
My new role is also a big personal step for me. Whilst I’ve been abroad before, I’ve never lived away from home for any length of time - so to do this halfway across the world is an experience for sure!
In terms of career highlights, I have many great memories of volunteering, and the excitement of gaining my first paid role in what I loved doing got me on the employment ladder within my chosen career. The best way to put it is that I probably skipped a few rungs on that ladder by coming out to my current role in Dubai! This was only possible because of my work both personally with volunteering and researching my chosen topic, networking and my time at Hadlow. To have a well-recognised qualification from a reputable college on my CV was surely a big help.
My advice to prospective students would be to try to find your own specialism. If you don't have this already, then college is a great place to find it by being open-minded and trying as many new experiences as possible. Once you've found what you want to do, graft away. People aren't going to take you seriously, especially professionally, if you don't know your stuff!
Whilst you need to have the knowledge and skills in place, they are useless without creating opportunities for yourself. Networking within your chosen industry and specialism is one of the best ways of doing this. All of my career opportunities so far have been made possible by networking. You have to remember that the animal industry is highly competitive and the greatest way of standing out is being known in some way to the person or company you're applying to.
Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fisheries Management and BSc (Hons) Aquaculture & Fisheries Management
The courses are well-designed and encourage hands-on learning, rather than just reading through PowerPoint presentations. It allowed me to “get my foot in the door”, as my lecturer would say. My employer, a small salmon company in the northwest highlands of Scotland, was looking for someone with an academic background in aquaculture to innovate the company.
Without my course, I wouldn’t have had the aquaculture knowledge that I gained through research and international work experience, which gave me a broader view and understanding of techniques, research, technology and fish cultivation methods.