A quick chat with Dougal Lindsay, Senior Surveyor
Having graduated with a BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management, Dougal Lindsay, from Inverness, began his career with the Buccleuch Estates. He is now a partner in CKD Galbraith, the “leading firm of Land Agents in Scotland”.
What did you do before coming to Harper Adams?
School followed by a gap year in Australia working as a Jackaroo on cattle stations in Queensland
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
It offered the best course available to enable me to follow my chosen career path. It provides a sound education based on practical application - Harper Adams graduates stand out from the crowd.
What were the best things about your course?
It had a good balance of informative lectures and practical demonstrations/ field trips. The lecturers were helpful and knowledgeable, but most importantly, it concentrated on what we needed to know to make us employable.
What did you do on placement?
I worked at Savills in Brechin (Angus) as a trainee Land Agent. The year confirmed my chosen career path and iIt gave a hugely valuable insight into life after graduation and therefore an edge when it came to graduate interviews. It also was a lot of fun getting involved with clients and seeing how a land management business ran
Tell us about your career since graduating.
After graduation I joined the Buccleuch Estates’ as their first REALM graduate. Working on their Bowhill Estate near Selkirk in the Scottish Border as an ‘Improver’ (their term for a trainee Land Agent) I qualified as a Land Agent after 12 months. I remained at the estate in various roles for seven years, ending up as the Assistant Factor responsible for the rural portfolio of Bowhill, Eildon, Eckford, Dalkeith and Branxholm Estates.
I joined my current employer CKD Galbraith in 2003 as a Senior Surveyor where I initially worked for two years in the Firm’s Edinburgh office involved primarily in Commercial Property Management. I’m now a Partner based in our Inverness office. CKD Galbraith is the leading firm of Land Agents in Scotland. I’m personally involved in a broad portfolio of private client rural land management, professional work and renewable energy advice although as a firm we get involved in all areas of property advice, management and sales.
What sort of tasks and responsibilities does it involve?
It’s very broad ranging from dealing with traditional lowland and urban fringe estates to large Highland sporting estates. It involves people management as well as technical surveying and negotiating skills.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every client has different objectives, aspirations and challenges so it’s exciting, sometimes frustrating but ultimately rewarding being involved with a wide spectrum of approaches in what is currently a challenging climate for land owners in Scotland.
What skills/experience was your employer looking for?
The ability to get on with people is critical. I think that having been embedded at Buccleuch was crucial in understanding the big estate mentality.
How did your qualification/ experiences at Harper Adams aid your career?
It gave me the tools to pass the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) which, as a surveyor, is the door to your future
Do you think being a graduate made a difference to your position and salary?
Yes. I wouldn’t have been able to get my foot on the ladder without a degree. Thankfully graduate salaries have moved on from when I graduated – Land Agents were the poor relations of the surveying world but now there is greater parity with other surveying disciplines.
What advice do you have for a student interested in doing a similar job?
Get as much relevant experience as possible and make sure you stand out from the crowd; you needn’t conform – employers like graduates who have lived a little and that might have an interesting tale to tell.