Careers Special: 'Work experience is a great way to test a career path'

11 May 2021

11 May 2021

Chloe Hayes, a rural chartered surveyor at Stephensons Rural, explains why she chose her career path and what a typical working day looks like.

Why did you choose this career path?

It can be daunting at school when you are asked to decide on a career path and university course.

There are so many choices it would be impossible to go through them all.

My top tip would be to write down subjects, interests and hobbies that you enjoy and then take a look at courses, apprenticeships and training programmes that fit these best.

For me, my favourite subject at school was geography and I enjoy being outdoors in the countryside and so wanted a job that would take me out of the office. I started researching careers in the rural sector and came across becoming a rural chartered surveyor.

During the summer holidays I undertook work experience at a local surveyor firm which I really enjoyed and helped me decide that this could be my career.

I think work experience is a great way to test a career path; even if it isn’t as you expected, at least you can cross that career off your list.

What qualifications did you need and how long did it take?


To become a chartered surveyor you need to study a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)-accredited course followed by at least two years of on the job experience.

You then take your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) to become a qualified chartered surveyor and to use MRICS after your name.


I studied rural enterprise and land management at Harper Adams University and completed my first year of experience during our university placement and my second year of experience after graduating.


During your two years of work you write up your APC, demonstrating your competence in various subjects such as valuation, agriculture, property management, purchase and sale, management of the natural environment, access and rights over land, compensation and compulsory purchase and land use and diversification. I think this shows there are so many aspects to being a rural chartered surveyor.


These topics are for the rural pathway, however there are many other pathways including commercial and building surveying.


Following your two years of experience you can apply to RICS to take your APC. This involves submitting your APC document to RICS and attending an interview to demonstrate your competence.


Rural chartered surveyors are also encouraged to take the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers exam to become a Fellow of the Association, which allows you to use FAAV after your name.


The exam takes place over two days and comprises a practical, written and oral examination on a working farm and at an examination centre testing knowledge on a broad range of agricultural topics.

What does a day in your working life look like?

I love that each day is different. On Monday I could be assisting with a formal valuation of a farm, Tuesday producing a brochure to launch land to the market, Wednesday applying for countryside stewardship and grants, Thursday drafting agricultural planning applications and Friday calculating compensation following statutory works – all these examples involve going onsite.

How do you think the industry is perceived among those from a non-farming background and what can we do to reach people who may have never considered a career in agriculture?

Although I grew up in a rural area, I am not from a farming background.

Because of this I arranged to gain work experience at friends’ farms and also took advantage of the farming experiences at university, including milking the dairy herd.

I don’t feel that this has held me back and I ensure that I keep up to date with the sector’s legislation, guidance and news. My friends who aren’t from farming backgrounds always say my job sounds very interesting.

When I was looking for a career path to choose, I hadn’t heard of a rural chartered surveyor before and so I think that this career path could be promoted more to younger people, such as through talks at schools, career fairs, career newsletters and via social media especially targeting areas where there may not be a high percentage from rural backgrounds.