Off to a flying start – Estate trainee scoops university prize

The Estate’s 2017/18 Trainee Land Agent Matthew Thompson has received a much-deserved award in recognition of his efforts during his placement year.

As part of his BSc degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, Matthew, who is completing his final exams this June, spent a year with Clinton Devon Estate’s Property and Land Team.

The university has now awarded the 22-year-old from Suffolk a coveted Aspire Prize which celebrates students who best demonstrate the development of personal skills in a variety of areas during their placement years.

Matthew said: “I had the chance to work closely with the team, shadowing Estates Surveyor Clare James and colleagues, as well as working independently as the year went on, developing a raft of technical skills.

“The experience prepared me for my final year, which focussed on agricultural law, rural asset management, statutory valuation, business and residential tenancies and will be invaluable to my future career as a rural surveyor. It also counts as one of two years’ work experience I need before being eligible for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Assessment of Professional Competency course.”

Matthew worked across all three estates – Beer, East Devon and North Devon – and was involved in various aspects of property, farm, land and environmental management.

“The lettings management work was very varied and included paddocks and allotments, residential property and commercial units,” Matthew explained. “I assisted with enquiries through the whole process, from advertising to the completion of tenancy agreements.

“At the North Devon estate, work included environmental and land management which involved working with the Devon Wildlife Trust and the Westcountry Rivers Trust to improve water quality in the River Torridge. I also gained experience in the management of two farm shares in North Devon, whereby Clinton Devon Estates works in partnership with the farmer, and this involved various land and infrastructure projects.

“Working for the Estate has been a real privilege, and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to gain a such wide range of experience across such a diverse portfolio”, Matthew added.

The Aspire Award recognises the effective fulfilment of Matthew’s Career Management Plan assignment which all of the university’s placement year students are required to complete and involves the creation of an action plan at the beginning of the placement and its evaluation at the end.

Matthew is now looking forward to starting work as a graduate surveyor with Brown & Co in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.

Clare James, Estates Surveyor, added: “Matthew’s achievement comes as no surprise to the Property and Land Team at Clinton Devon Estates. During his placement year Matthew worked with enthusiasm and diligence in all aspects of this work.  His thirst for knowledge led him to assist and participate in all aspects of Estate work.  We wish Matthew well as he leaves Harper Adams and progresses his career in land management.”

L-R: Senior Lecturer and Assistant Head of Department Simon Keeble, Matthew Thompson, Senior Lecturer and Placement Manager David Jasper, Principal Lecturer Carrie de Silva and Associate Head of Department for Land Management Susan Ragbourne