Charlotte Webster

LLB (Hons), Surveyor

Paston 2006-2008
History A-Level - Grade A                        
Law A-Level - Grade A                       
Psychology A-Level - Grade A             

University of Durham 2008-2011
Law 2:1 (Hons) Degree

"I had originally wanted to study History at degree but in the end opted for Law because of how much I enjoyed studying it at Paston."

Who do you work for, and what projects have you been involved in?
I work for Berrys, a firm of Chartered Rural Surveyors and Planners operating from five offices across Shropshire, Cheshire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire. I am currently training towards RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and CAAV (Central Association of Agricultural Valuers) qualifications.

Although I have only been training for 4 months I have been involved with a number of large scale projects, including writing planning and design and access statements for large residential developments, valuing renewable energy facilities on a large mixed farm in conjunction with a senior lecturer at Harper Adams University, and preparing for arbitration proceedings on an agricultural rent review.

What is a typical day at work like?
The nature of my profession means that every day is different and the projects I am working on will vary across a number of different departments which include agency, planning, valuation, professional services and rural property management.

A typical day could, for example, consist of visiting an estate to advise on business and tax structure, before returning to the office to write up a valuation report. After lunch I might submit a planning application for a 10 dwelling residential development, before liasing with Natural England on changes to an Environmental Stewardship agreement.

What did you study at Paston? How did that course help you progress upon your career path?
At Paston I studied AS Level English Literature & Language and Critical Thinking and A Level History, Law and Psychology. I chose my courses based on my interests and strengths at the time, and doing so meant that I was in a strong position when applying to universities. I had originally wanted to study History at degree but in the end opted for Law because of how much I enjoyed studying it at Paston.

Following completion of my Law degree at Durham University I eventually went on to study the MSc Rural Estate Management course at the Royal Agricultural University, a qualification I needed in order to pursue my current career. Studying for both of these qualifications required good written communication, the ability to think outside of the box and, of course, time management and organisation. These were all skills which I developed at Paston when studying for my A Levels.

What are the important skills you have had to develop and hone to be successful in your job?
In my line of work good communication skills and confidence when meeting new clients is vital. Independence is the key to being given more freedom with the work you are doing, but at the same time you need to be someone who isn't afraid to ask when they don't know the answer. Organisation and time management are other vital skills - with so much going on lists become a day to day part of life!

Did you ever envisage doing this while you were at Paston?
Whilst I was studying at Paston I thought I wanted to train as a solicitor and it wasn't until my second year at university and after completing the relevant work experience that I realised it wasn't for me. At the time of graduating from Durham I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I was safe in the knowledge that my degree provided me with a wide range of transferable skills which would work in my favour in the vast majority of job applications. When I eventually did work out which profession it was I wanted to get into, my undergraduate degree allowed me to progress onto the Masters course, without which I could not qualify as Chartered Surveyor or Valuer.

What did you do in the year immediately after graduating?
The year after graduating I was approached by Paston to apply for their HE Mentor position which I enjoyed for 11 months. The role allowed me to develop and improve a range of skills which are essential in my role at Berrys, including presentational skills and confidence in my ability to converse with a wide range of different people.

"I had originally wanted to study History at degree but in the end opted for Law because of how much I enjoyed studying it at Paston. "