Holly completed the BSc in Rural Enterprise and Land Management (REALM) at Harper Adams University College in June 2008 and is now working full time as a rural practice surveyor with Fisher German LLP, Market Harborough Leicestershire.
When considering my future prior to university, I knew I didn’t want an office-based job having grown up with an ‘outdoor life’, and I also knew I didn’t want to be stuck at a city-based university. So I looked for a university and course that would allow me to study something I was interested in, in a place I enjoyed. This led me to look at Harper Adams University College, a rural-based institution with a range of different courses for the land-based sector. I attended the Higher Education Choices conference that takes place every year in July to see what it would be like to do the REALM degree course at this institution, and I decided to apply.
From day one, I enjoyed the course, which covers every aspect of rural life. During my second year the modules became more specific to a career in rural practice and this prepared me well for my placement year.
During my placement year I worked for David Hill Chartered Surveyors in Skipton, North Yorkshire. The work was varied and I was given lots of responsibility as well as client contact, all of which were valuable when returning to university for my final year and applying for positions.
On returning from placement to the final year of my four-year degree course, I found that my experience really enhanced my learning, allowing me to put the theory into practical situations I had experienced, and I graduated with a 2:1 in summer 2008. The placement year counted as the first year of my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
Luckily, Harper Adams is recognised nationally for the strength of the REALM degree course. Many graduates work within the industry and a lot of firms visit the college to carry out graduate presentations. There is now an annual careers fair specifically for this subject specialism, held in the autumn of your final year.
I felt it important to research each employer carefully, speaking to recent graduates and employees in order to get a ‘feel’ for the company and each individual office. As a result, I applied for and took up a graduate position with Fisher German in Market Harborough. I find the role extremely varied as it includes estate management, valuation, compulsory purchase and other professional work. I shall be sitting my APC this autumn, along with my Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) exams, which are my short-term career goals.
I’ve really enjoyed the start of my gradate career because of this variety and the fact that no two days are the same. I’ve been given lots of responsibility and the opportunity to deal with clients face to face and communicating with contractors, tenants and other professionals. I enjoy meeting this wide range of people. I’m responsible for my own time management with plenty of team work and, most importantly, I’m not desk bound!
If you’re thinking about going into this profession, I’d say think about the things you enjoy. A degree and career is much more fulfilling if you enjoy it. Ask questions and get other people’s opinions to help you make the right decision and get some experience. If you don’t ask, you don’t get and most firms are willing to give you work experience. During my summer holiday between year 1 and year 2, I got some experience at a large national firm and on a traditional rural estate, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and they gave me an insight into the career.
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