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Our Future – Abigail Gate

Apprentice Rural Surveyor with H&H Land and Estates (Real Estates and Land Management with Harper Adams University in Shropshire)

– Tell us about your career path

“I grew up in Cumbria and I’m part of an agricultural family. So, at the beginning, I thought I wouldn't go into agriculture because I didn't think that that was the route for me. But then when I realised that I wanted to spend most of my time outdoors and working with farmers. I knew it was the right path for me.

“Being a rural surveyor is an unusual sector to go into. If you think about going down the agricultural route, you may think you have to stick with farming, but I’m working with far more people than just farmers. It’s also about working with government and understanding policy. You’re helping farmers to increase their profits in the long-term. The job helps spread the word of what farmers do to help the environment and help the food industry as a whole which I believe is such an important factor, especially in this day and age.

“I go down to Harper Adams one week a month and I’ll do that for the next five years. I’ve completed one year so only four more to go. The rest of the time I’m at work full-time. I get assignments but I can spend a few hours a week on those and in the final year I have a dissertation then I’ll hopefully graduate with a degree. I’m the most northern undergraduate on my course studying with people from Devon, Norwich, and all over the place. It provides a different way of doing it, really. It gives you the opportunity to work alongside studying.

“Plus, there are lots of opportunities to build your knowledge in different aspects of the job. As you get further into the role, you are able to specify which sector is most suited to yourself, for example estate management or valuations. I do all sorts of things and while you’re working on an estate you enable marketing opportunities. As a company, we hold seminars and evening events which help to expand the knowledge of what we do as a business to show that we do a lot more for farmers than first meets the eye.”

– What’s your top tip for anyone wanting a job like yours?

“If you are keen on beginning a career in something that is completely different, but are unsure if Cumbria provides an opportunity to do so, I think the best thing you can do is to do a lot of research into it as no doubt there will be a company out there in the local area that will provide what you’re after. I would also suggest going for work experience which will provide a taster into what a day-in-the-life looks like.”

– What’s your advice to anyone thinking about whether they should leave or stay in Cumbria?
  • “There’s lots going on: Cumbria does provide lots of stuff to do outside of work. There is the amazing countryside within the Lake District offering lots of places to go out and visit.
  • There are apprenticeships and lots of jobs available: There are loads of companies providing apprenticeships nowadays, companies within Cumbria can offer jobs that you may think are only available in places like London.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice: You’ll never know what might be possible until you ask around for help and advice, whether that’s at school your family, or friends. Just find out what your options are.”

Back to Young People: Careers in Cumbria

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