Chris Gill, a BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management student, is on placement with the Savills Food and Farming team, based at their Winchester office.
Currently 10 months in to the 12 month placement, Chris has experienced a variety of tasks. The 21-year-old said, "The nature of the role is very varied meaning I have undertaken work ranging from routine farm management jobs including budgeting, stocktake valuations, contract farming agreements etc, through to delivering advice on countryside stewardship guidance and applications, submitting the annual claims for environmental schemes and the Basic Payment Scheme, and even working on compensation claims for farmers who have had their land used for television and film sites."
"Working on such a wide variety of tasks has meant I've been able to get great experience across a full range of farm management and consultancy activities, as well as being able to find out for myself those areas I' most interested in. I think that having the opportunity to learn while on the job is a great way to gain knowledge at the same time as being able to see the day-to-day reality of working in the agri-consultancy industry.
"Working on new tasks and dealing with clients directly can initially come across as quite daunting, and can sometimes feel out your comfort zone; however, this has definitely been worth it and I don't think I would have gained the same level of experience had I not had these opportunities.
"Looking forward, this placement has been vital in helping me decide what I want to pursue as a career, and I feel that having a full year in industry not only has given me a good indication of whether it is something I could see myself doing, but also gives a great competitive advantage when applying for jobs in the future. Regardless of the fairly uncertain external environment currently surrounding agriculture in the UK, I think there are some huge opportunities available to students and graduates looking to a career in the industry, not just in farm management and consultancy, but across the whole sector."
Chris is eager to take his new ideas back home to Richmond, North Yorkshire, "This year has also given me some great ideas to take back home to the family farm with regards to diversification options; now I just have to convince my dad that they are all brilliant ideas!
"Overall, I feel my placement year has been massively beneficial to my course and my degree, and has put me in a great position for going into my final year in October."