Careers Day inspires a new generation to cutting edge land-based careers

Premium rural careers were on show this week at Holkham Estate in Norfolk where school pupils found out what it takes to stay at the forefront of the rural industry.

 Walking into Holkham Hall

Walking into Holkham Hall

More than 60 year 9 and 10 pupils from schools across Norfolk, including Springwood High School in King’s Lynn, Lynn Grove Academy in Great Yarmouth, Flegg High School in Martham, Hellesdon High School and City Academy in Norwich took part in an amazing day. The aim of the day was for students to participate in, and find out about, some of the technical and degree level rural careers on the Holkham Estate.

Marie Borrego, Higher Education Champion at Take Your Place and organiser of the event said, "The land-based career day was a joint enterprise between Take Your Place and Holkham to inspire young people to take up well qualified careers in the rural industries." Take Your Place is a programme offered by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco) and focuses on improving progression of targeted young people to higher education.

The 25,000-acre Holkham Estate is one of the largest employers in north Norfolk. Students took part in work-related activities on the farm and in the walled garden and got involved in gamekeeping and forestry.

 Enjoying day-old chicks!

Enjoying day-old chicks!

Holkham is a leading example of a rural estate putting sustainable energy at the heart of its operation. Its aerobic digester and biomass boiler are examples of renewable energies which the estate uses, as well as ground-source heating and solar panels.  

Lucy Hearle, a student from Springwood High School at King’s Lynn who is interested in gamekeeping, said “The day offered a lot of information about the different careers that went on in the park, and I learnt a lot about gamekeeping that didn’t know about. I have always been interested in the agricultural side of things and it has opened my eyes even more to be[ing] a gamekeeper...”

Holkham has a diverse range of employment opportunities including traditional land-based careers such as farming (arable and livestock) and horticulture. The estate also has a team of Conservation Wardens on the Holkham National Nature Reserve. They take work experience students and offer apprenticeships as well as employing graduates.

Harry Wakefield, Head Forester at Holkham, talked about the type of people employed to keep an estate like Holkham at the forefront of the industry. “I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest and Woodland Management from the University of Cumbria. Emily, who works in outdoor education, has a Conservation and Ecology degree from the University of Kent. Other staff have Higher National Diplomas, including Simon, who is supervisor in the gardens.”

 Anaerobic Digesters

Anaerobic Digesters

 Students standing on top of chip piles used to power the anaerobic digesters

Students standing on top of chip piles used to power the anaerobic digesters

“Many staff have vocational qualifications from specialist agricultural colleges such as Easton and Otley. Our gamekeeper, Catherine, has a Game and Wildlife Management Level 3 from Sparsholt College, Winchester. She was the only female on her gamekeeping course at Sparsholt and this is also the case at Holkham Estate as there are very few women in this profession.”

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