Tag Archive: People

Nurturing Talent in The Rural Sector

At land, property and business consultancy George F. White, investing in our people is our main priority. By providing our team with the right learning environment, mentoring, training and tools, we are able to give the best support to clients.

We provide a myriad of services to clients in the rural sector, ranging from farming and agricultural services to planning and development and deal with issues including grants and subsidies, succession planning and legislation assistance.


Investing in the team, and embedding key qualities such as innovation, inspiration, honesty and commitment into the very core of the business is vital. Nurturing young, fresh talent in the rural sector is crucial to this, which is why George F. White provides graduate and apprenticeship opportunities, with a structured career development plan, so that we can help cultivate the future rural workforce, to support clients as best we can.

Rural surveyor Adeline Jones is a prime example of George F. White’s focus on developing young talent. Adeline has spent most of her life in agriculture as her family holds a long tradition in farming. From this, she’s developed an appreciation of the challenges of managing a farm enterprise and issues faced by a rural community. Following school, she worked on a farm during a gap year before deciding to take an undergraduate course in BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University. Adeline’s course involved a placement year which she undertook at George F. White, as an undergraduate rural surveyor, which later helped her secure a graduate position within the firm.

Not only did the placement and graduate position provide vital experience of working with real clients, facing real issues and providing solutions to help clients overcome specific rural business challenges, Adeline was also able to secure the professional knowledge, and qualifications, she needed by joining us. To sit the necessary exams, you need at least two years’ experience at an appropriate business, which Adeline achieved through her placement year and following her university completion. Adeline has been with us for two and a half years now and has passed her Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) and Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) exams which means she is a fully qualified chartered surveyor and a Fellow of the Association of Agricultural Valuers.

Many members of the George F. White team have taken a similar path to Adeline. Entry level employment is something we strongly believe in, and a key ethical value. Indeed, over the past year alone, the Alnwick office has been home to three apprentices and an APC student. We are extremely proud to have a 100% APC pass rate over the past decade, where we have supported 23 successful APC graduates.

Demonstrating our commitment to our people is reflected in the Employer of the Year award that we were thrilled to win at the recent Northumberland Business Awards. Mentoring young, ambitious people that want to come into the industry is so important to us and helping them to gain the qualifications and experience they need to progress their careers is the ultimate goal.

Due to our consistent growth, we’re actively recruiting, creating nine new roles across the business. Our ability to grow our workforce is all down to putting our people at the centre of our ethos, and empowering skilled and nurtured people to thrive at George F. White.

For more information about the current career opportunities at George F. White, please contact Debbie Charlton on careers@georgefwhite.co.uk

Around the kitchen table

Farm secretaries are integral to any farm business, but why?

With increasing legislation for farm businesses, there has been a surge in demand for farm secretaries. Farm Secretaries are integral to any farm business; looking after budgets, accounting, recording and monitoring and other financial aspects provide vital information when making key business decisions. George F. White farm secretary, Emma Pate, explores the importance of the role as well as the opportunities for those coming into the industry.

farm secretaries

Emma studied Rural Business Management at the Scottish Agricultural College with the view of working within the agricultural industry. During her fourth year she took a placement in our Duns office, it was then that she realised how versatile and rewarding the profession could be and was offered a full time position after she graduated.

Emma said: “I realised that I just couldn’t sit at a desk from 9-5 every day, I am a ‘people person’ and I need that interaction and ability to get out and see different places and faces. Each day is so different and the variety really drives me forward.”

Of course, being a farm secretary comes with its challenges. The regulations surrounding not only the industry, but technology and finance, are constantly evolving making it extremely difficult for traditional farmers to keep up.

Our farm secretaries are currently focusing on and providing training opportunities regarding ‘Making Tax Digital’, a fundamental government change for business reporting. From April 2019 VAT registered businesses will be required to maintain digital records using software which is compatible with HMRC’s systems and to file their VAT returns directly from these systems. From April 2020, at the earliest, quarterly digital reporting of Income Tax and Corporation Tax figures will be introduced thereby increasing the scope of businesses requiring compatible software.

However, no matter what industry you are in, every challenge is worth it.

Emma continues: “Being able to build up a portfolio of clients, all with different needs and then being able to offer the service they require and exceed their expectations is the best feeling. It doesn’t just apply to my role of being a farm secretary – I am able to introduce my clients to other service leads within George F. White such as planning, energy and our rural professional team. I see their visions become a reality; those farm buildings they were thinking about renovating or that piece of land they weren’t sure what to do with. It gives you a real sense of satisfaction.”

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of young farm secretaries, like Emma, coming into the industry. The average age of a farm secretary is 60. With so much opportunity, change and demand, it has become vital that as an industry, we fulfill the demand by expanding our farm secretarial services. It is a fantastic way to get into the agricultural industry and provides you with the perfect platform and training to further progress, be innovative and get results.

For more information about our current career opportunities, please contact: GFW People team careers@georgefwhite.co.uk

Empowered People – the recipe for success

2017 was a pivotal year for George F. White. Here, our managing partner, Robyn Peat, explains the key ingredient behind such a milestone year and why 2018 presents further opportunities.

Empowered people

“2017 was a fantastic year for George F. White. A key highlight was the decision to move into Newcastle to further cultivate our Planning and Development, Energy and Commercial sectors as market developments have seen an increase in demand for a more urbanised business offering. The move was a success, and following further development within these sectors we have taken the next step and have moved into a bigger and more centralised office on Westgate Road.

Another high point of 2017, and something that will continue to be a key priority this year, is the development and expansion of our team. We appointed a range of people, from Board level positions down to junior and apprentice level roles. We added more specialists to the team, appointing a new operations director, Sally Hart, and also a new regional operations manager for GFW Letting, Donna Cheney. 11 new starters joined us when we expanded into Tyne and Wear, taking us to over 120 employees nationwide.

I often get asked, so what’s your secret to continued success, Robyn? And my answer is always the same: our team. Each team member provides clarity, direction and support to help clients make informed decisions and achieve the best outcomes. To us, this secures success and, in turn, drives growth and prosperity.

Fundamentally, our ethos is people-driven, which is why the personal and professional development of our team is vital. Another highlight of last year, was the restructure that the business went through. We wanted to support internal growth and identify new and consistent opportunities for staff and services. In Northumberland alone, 11 members of the team were given well deserved promotions, recognising the dedication, hard work and talent of the individuals within the business. The restructure has given everyone, regardless of their level or role within the business, a very clear route to progression. It has also provided leadership and management opportunities for many, and shown that the Group is committed to supporting each and every team member’s development, which is rewarded and recognised appropriately.

We’ve also introduced new and updated incentives in order to give back to the team, from extra holidays and changes to the maternity package, through to vouchers and rewards. Notably, a bonus structure has now been implemented so that all members of staff will receive a percentage of the whole business’ profits for that financial year.

Entry level employment is something we strongly believe in, too. Over the past year alone, the Alnwick office has been home to three apprentices and an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) student. Over the past decade, we have supported 23 successful APC graduates and are currently recruiting for more across the business.

For me, investing in your people is without doubt the most important thing you can do as a business. By giving the right mentoring, training and tools to excellent people – the team – we’re able to give the right guidance and support to clients. Due to our consistent growth, we are actively recruiting, creating four new roles across the business. Our ability to grow our workforce is all down to putting our people at the centre of our ethos, and empowering skilled and nurtured people to thrive at George F. White.”

For more information about the current career opportunities at George F. White, please contact Liz Rhodes on careers@georgefwhite.co.uk