Scott James is a BSc (Hons) Rural Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprentice. He started as an apprentice at Harper Adams in September 2019 but has been working for his employer, Pierrepont Estates Management Ltd, since 2014.
A rural chartered surveyor role can be very varied and carries responsibility for providing professional advice and recommendations to clients relating to land, property or construction. Rural surveyors also manage client instructions from engagement to completion, often negotiating contracts and prices.
We asked Scott to offer an insight into his career and how it is progressing so far.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
“My role with my employer has expanded considerably over the last three years and I undertake a wide variety of estate management tasks. As my job grew and I interacted with other professionals on a more regular basis, it became clear that I would need to attain some formal qualifications.
"I looked at multiple options for distance learning that would still allow me to maintain my position within the company. I found there were very few viable options available to me. That’s when I found the Degree Apprenticeship that was being offered by Harper. It seemed to fit my needs really well, so I presented it to my boss who agreed to support me.”
What are the challenges of being an apprentice?
“I have a significant workload with the company as well as having a young family. I had anticipated the necessary time commitments outside of the course and had made allowances for the extra demands (apprentices are allocated time away from their roles to undertake study, research and complete assignments).
"What I had not anticipated was how much work would build up during the week that I am off site. This has meant that I’ve had to change my working habits to delegate work to others and manage projects differently.”
What do you enjoy about your job?
“I love the varied nature of my job. I could be dealing with tenant issues today, forestry harvesting tomorrow and dealing with the Coal Authority or Natural England the following day. I spend about half of my time out on the estate; looking at what is going on, checking on work progress and planning the next development or diversification.”
How are you finding your time at Harper Adams University?
“I am enjoying my time at Harper. It has been good to get to know new, like-minded people who are looking to achieve similar goals to myself.”
What advice would you give to someone who is considering an apprenticeship?
“The apprenticeship has the potential to be particularly rewarding, if you allow it to be. You need to start with an open mind and a willingness to learn and accept new and varied approaches to the ones that you may already be using. You will have the opportunity to get a degree and a chartered membership to the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors). You are able to earn a living rather than building a debt that must be paid back. It is an opportunity I would encourage anybody to grasp with both hands.”
Harper Adams University offer six specialist degree apprenticeships, supporting professional development in the food industry, utilities and rural surveying. Applicants interested in finding out more about the Rural Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship can attend Land & Property Management Experience Open Days being held in February and March to gain more of an insight.
If you are interested in a Degree Apprenticeship at Harper Adams University, you can find out more here.
Written by Melanie Harwood