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Icenian interview – Harry

Harry Buckley iiHarry was a fulltime boarder at Langley from 2005 to 2010. He later moved to Australia and here we find out about his pursuits in agriculture as well as his experiences flying helicopters across the stunning Queensland landscape.

Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in at Langley?
Having started in Year 6, I participated in a range of activities from sailing to friendship bracelet making! I spent a lot of time on the rugby and cricket pitches playing sport for the school, making the 1st cricket team in Year 9. Throughout my Langley years I also visited many places, including Belgium for a battlefield tour in Year 9, Holland for a football trip in Year 7, and Montreux, Switzerland for their annual jazz festival, playing on one of their stages with the Dixieland jazz band.

Have these activities been useful within your career and given you transferable skills?
Throughout my time at Langley I believe that I developed most as a person through the activities. Having not been as academically driven as maybe I should have been, the vast range of activities allowed me to lead teams, work independently and learn how to get on with my peers. In later life, learning how to get the best out of people – which came from the activities and sporting side of Langley – has been a huge advantage in the workplace and in general life.

Langley is the best choice I ever made. The range of activities is second to none and if you want a well-rounded education and to become the best you can be there is simply no other choice.

Tell us about your career
After finishing my A-Levels, and not doing as we as I had hoped, I embarked on a GAP year to Australia. I had lined up a job in Queensland as a boarding master and teaching assistant, much like Langley offers to overseas students. Through this I met lots of varied people. The students in their final year happened to be the same age as I was (18) and, as their school year runs from January to November, they were not long finishing their schooling when I arrived. A few of the students became close friends, and still are, and invited me to their remote properties. It is hard to explain in words what remote means in Australia. After a week helping (I can’t call it working, as I came from a military family, having never thought about farming), I was smitten with the remote life working with cattle. I was then lucky enough to be given a job at Lake Nash station, which is located over the QLD border in the Northern territory of Australia. This 4.2 million acre property, which in context is not much smaller than the country of Wales, was my home for the next two years. I learnt to ride; shoe and break in horses, muster and process cattle and, most importantly, how to work. Life out in the middle of nowhere is crazy, the nearest hospital is more than 300kms away and the nearest pub 200kms.

What have been your highlights so far?
From working on the station I was very cheeky one afternoon and asked our helicopter pilot (as the area is so vast we have to use helicopters to locate and move cattle), if he would let me fly him home. To my surprise he said yes. So I jumped in a Robinsons R22 helicopter with no knowledge of what on earth I was doing and given the briefest demonstration of how to fly. Once we were up, the pilot told me to keep the plane straight and level, he then promptly fell asleep. From this moment I decided I wanted to follow cows in helicopters. I returned home, gained my helicopter license, flew back to Australia, chased cows for nine months and then got told to leave Australia. I decided that, in order to get back, I had to get a degree and develop my knowledge of the agriculture industry.

So what are you doing now?
I am currently in my final year at Harper Adams University studying agriculture with crop management. A very different career path from the aspiring physiotherapist I thought I wanted to be.

What advice would you give to students considering Langley, their A-Levels and career choices?
Langley instilled in me a high work ethic and a ‘have a go’ attitude that employer’s value highly. The advice I would offer is that Langley is the best choice I ever made. The range of activities is second to none and if you want a well-rounded education and to become the best you can be there is simply no other choice. One of my regrets is that I chose to move schools for my A-Levels. I would probably have worked harder and potentially become the physiotherapist I aspired to be. However, I wouldn’t have had the great adventure I have had. In regard to choosing A-Levels I strongly suggest thinking about what would be the best decision for you personally. If you already have a career in mind, then of course select the A-Levels that will allow you to pursue that career path. If you are like me, select things that you enjoy and that will develop you as a person no matter what grade you end up with at the end.

Final shout-out
I would like to thank Mr Cooper for being a great boarding master and rugby coach; Mr Sullivan for providing hours of entertainment in the evenings, and Mr White for keeping me enthusiastic about music!

Published On: March 4th, 2021Categories: Icenians, News

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