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H&H Bowe Finds Winning Formula in Young Farmers
2011-09-01

H&H Bowe Limited, the H&H Group's specialist Chartered Surveyors and Land Agents have developed an on-going relationship with Young Farmers in Cumbria and the North of England. While many young people struggle to find work, the company has taken on several graduates and school leavers in recent years.

Rebecca Stafford, Craig Brough, Matt Bell, Tom Armstrong

Rebecca Stafford, Craig Brough, Matt bell, Tom Armstrong

So far the combination of a farming background, agricultural education or an active involvement in Young Farmers seems to be a winning formula. Assistant Land Agents Tom Armstong and Matthew Bell both worked for the company whilst on the placement year of their Rural Enterprise & Land Management degree at Harper Adams. Tom’s family are farmers at Cross Fell House in Milburn and he is still involved with the livestock in his spare time. Matthew who is from Rosley near Wigton also helps the family on the farm which is mainly livestock with some cropping, wheat and barley.

Former university housemates, they spent their placement year learning all aspects of general Estate Management, AMC Finance, Planning and Valuation before being offered an interview and permanent position when they graduated. Both twenty three year olds are studying for their RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) exams in November and for their CAAV (Central Association of Agricultural Valuers) qualification. Being mandatory to take these qualifications, the company provides study time and associated training. As Tom explains, “It makes a big difference to come through the system this way and to benefit from the training and the experience that is passed on from the rest of the team at H&H Bowe.”

Matthew is a member of Raughton Head Young Farmers and took part in the National Finals for the Young Farmers competition in Blackpool earlier this year. In addition, he takes part in livestock events, the most recent being a mock auction for the annual field day. Tom is a member of Eden Valley Young Farmers and regularly takes part in stock judging events as well as social events including quizzes and debates. He comments on why a range of jobs in the agricultural sector is so important, “I am one of four so it wouldn’t be feasible for the family farm to support all of us but having an opportunity to work in a related industry is a really good way to keep involved in agriculture.”

The tradition has continued this year with the appointment of twenty two year old Harper Adams graduate Rebecca Stafford who was again offered the chance of a full time position after impressing the H&H Bowe team during her placement year. Rebecca, who was brought up on the family farm at Ingbirchworth in South Yorkshire, has just moved to Cumbria to begin her role as Assistant Land Agent and is looking forward to joining the local branch of Young Farmers.

By appointing young graduates on a regular basis, placement students and new employees can see how their own careers may develop. Craig Brough now 25, is a good example: the former Harper Adams student is now a fully qualified Land Agent having passed his RICS and CAAV exams. Brought up on the family sheep and dairy farm in Dalston, he is an active member of the Raughton Head Young Farmers where he combines his responsibilities as County Chairman with his role at H&H Bowe. He has also been instrumental in organising a Calf Rearing Competition in association with the company, part of a project which has raised over £10,000 for the Pride of Cumbria Helicopter, part of the Great North Air Ambulance fleet.

Caroline Fearon (seated) and Rosie Thompson

Caroline Fearon and Rosie Thompson

As well as employing graduate trainees, the company has a policy of giving opportunities to young people in the area. Nineteen year old, Caroline Fearon lives on the family small holding in Bothel near Wigton and attends events at her local branch of the Young Farmers in Greysouthen. After taking A Levels in Applied Business and Media, she decided to look for work preferring to combine part time study with gaining real practical experience. For the past four months she has been working as an Administrative Assistant.

Caroline says, “Finding work after school is really difficult as most companies want people with experience so it is great that H&H Bowe have a policy of taking on school leavers. It is a very supportive and friendly team and I am really enjoying working with the farming and agricultural clients.”

Eighteen year old Rosie Thompson was recently employed in a similar role with receptionist duties working mainly in the sales department. She started work with the company this summer after finishing her A-Levels, subsequently learning she had gained four successful passes in English, Biology, Geography and Sociology. She lives on the family’s sheep farm at West Ward near Wigton and is currently Chairman of Caldbeck Young Farmers where she organises a variety of social, sporting and stock judging events. Like Caroline she wanted to gain practical experience and says, “Currently I am mainly working on land and farm sales and am finding the role extremely varied and interesting.”

Director Julie Liddle concludes, “As we specialise in rural issues, it has been a great help to us to be able to employ young and enthusiastic people who have an agricultural background. Along with this group, many of our employees are or have been Young Farmers and we support the organisation as much as we can providing judges for competitions and working with local branches on events as they provide an important role in maintaining key skills for our industry.”

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