I am an… assistant land agent and postgraduate student
What does an assistant land agent do?
“I work alongside the other members of the team gaining experience with a wide range of disciplines ranging from compensation claims and landlord and tenant matters to stewardship applications and renewable energy options. The job involves communicating with clients on a regular basis. It is very rewarding knowing that you are helping the clients with a situation or sorting an issue out for them. The job can be very satisfying.
“Having a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and Environmental Management gave me good background knowledge of the rural sector and agricultural practises which underpins the modules that I am now studying in my MSc.
“I think being a graduate and going on to do an MSc show that I was dedicated to the subject and willing to advance my learning in order to achieve the suitable qualifications to get into a career as a chartered rural surveyor.”
James Neame graduated in 2011 with a BSc (Hons) Agriculture and Environmental Management degree. He took a gap year travelling to New Zealand and Australia before returning to Harper Adams to study an MSc in Rural Estate and Land Management. He also works part time as an assistant land agent for Davis Meade Property Consultants.
So, first things first – we asked James to tell us more about his graduate job. The 24-year-old, from Shropshire, said: “I have been lucky enough to secure a part-time job which I undertake alongside my studies. This gives me a great opportunity to put what I have learnt in the classroom into practise.
“Immediately after graduating, I took a gap year and travelled to New Zealand and Australia. I worked on two dairy farms in New Zealand and visited many others. Having never had any dairy experience in the UK, this was a great opportunity to learn some new skills and different farming methods of another country.
“Now I work part-time for Davis Meade Property Consultants. We are a firm of chartered surveyors, valuers and land agents based in Shropshire and we cover the whole of Wales and bordering counties. We deal with agricultural dispute resolution, landlord and tenant advice, compensation claims, agricultural tenancy law, environmental stewardships and renewable energy.
“My job gives me the chance to deal with a wide range of disciplines which is giving me great experience to put towards my RICS Assessment of Professional Competence.”
Having a ‘can do’ attitude and a passion for the work is something employers value, James agrees. “Davis Meade Property Consultants were looking for someone that was enthusiastic about a career as a rural surveyor. Having a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and Environmental Management gave me a good background knowledge of the rural sector and agricultural practices which underpins the modules that I am now studying in my MSc. I think being a graduate and going on to do an MSc showed that I was dedicated to the subject and willing to advance my learning in order to achieve the suitable qualifications to get into a career as a chartered rural surveyor.”
We asked James what advice he would give to students interested in a similar role “If a career in chartered rural surveying is the pathway that you want to follow, it won’t matter that you didn’t study REALM at undergraduate level. It is important to know there are other routes to becoming RICS qualified. I think having done an undergraduate course in Agriculture and then a postgraduate course in Rural Estate and Land Management stands you in a better position to finding employment as you have that background knowledge that strengthens the content of the MSc.”
I chose to study at Harper Adams due to several reasons. First of all, the staff and students were all very helpful and friendly at open days. Secondly, because of the excellent campus facilities and location. The campus provides a great place to both work and enjoy the time at Harper.
Why did James choose to study at Harper Adams?
“First of all, the staff and students were all very helpful and friendly at open days. Secondly, because of the excellent campus facilities and location. The campus provides a great place to both work and enjoy a social life. Also, the range of modules that are on offer allow you to tailor your course to your personal interests.
“Then there was the placement year – that was a great positive that added to the whole experience of the course. It allows you to put what you have learnt into practise in the working world and develop skills that you don’t get the chance to do in the classroom. I spent the year at Spunhill Farm Sales, the crop care and animal health specialists. I got to see an insight into all sides of the business including crop walking with the agronomists, animal health advice to farmers and managing one of the depots.
“I think that future employers appreciate that you have undertaken a placement year as it gives you invaluable experience of being in the working world.”