The Rural List was launched in February 2019 as a face-to-face networking event in Cirencester. Covid-19 forced it online where attendance has rocketed. In both formats it has met monthly, less in August and December, welcoming a guest speaker to INSPIRE AND INFORM.
Catch up by browsing the summaries below ...
Happy Birthday to us!
Following on from the first ever Rural Careers Insight Day during the afternoon, up to forty people enjoyed excellent food by Joe at Wildgoose washed down with a glass of Corinium Ales' Premium and listened to a truly inspiring talk by Jonny Kerr, former Army officer, 2020 Oxford Farming Conference Emerging Leader and current farm manager. His talk proved that it is wholly possible for people with drive and determination to succeed in agriculture, even without a traditional farming background.
Thanks to everyone who came along, including business contacts:
A very friendly group of fifteen rural networkers gathered to drink, chat and exchange best practise on business cards, elevator pitches and how to get the best out of LinkedIn. (If you missed out, a handy guide to producing an elevator pitch is available to download here.)
Thanks to Matt Sheerin of After The Military for his insights into how a recruiting agency works and to Wendy Faux for top tips on business cards and for bringing along a very welcome group of military spouses, including an off-duty insider from Recruit for Spouses; we hope you will come again soon!
Despite floods and snow only a bound away, a determined group of hardy resettling military personnel met to hear from Charlotte Boole about the huge demand for outdoor skills instructors and how military personnel are highly sought after as much for the personality they bring into the training environment as for their reliability, presentability and punctuality. Unfortunately the snow had prevented Alec Hands of Lantra reaching the meeting but along with his apologies he also sent a message that changes are afoot which will make it even easier for resettling military personnel to access this career path. The current process is summarised here: https://www.lantra.co.uk/become-instructor-or-assessor.
It was also a pleasure to welcome Nigel Chute of Chute Designs who, as ever, was delighted to meet so many entrepreneurial people in one room!
Our first alumni speaker, Clare Muir, recently moved seamlessly from a joint COS role at the Defence Academy to her first civilian role as Assistant Director South West Landscapes and Infrastructure at The National Trust. On the way, she attended a meeting of The Rural List, so she is one of us!
Clare presented a raft of top tips for transition including:
- Big up positive military stereotypes and address negative ones head on.
She highlighted that there are a great many ex-mlitary across the National Trust and reflected that an introduction to a former army officer within the business had helped her considerably with interview preparation. She wants to provide similar assistance to those who follow and said she'd be "really annoyed" if an ex-service person who is applying for a National Trust role didn't get in touch, offering to introduce them to the best-placed internal contact to assist.
You can contact Clare via her LinkedIn profile page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clareemuir/
Out largest turn out so far to hear the passionate and engaging Jenny Phelps MBE, Senior Conservation Advisor at the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (South West) (FWAGSW), talk about the context in which we will all be working in the coming years.
Jenny also offered work experience and volunteer opportunities to all Rural Listers in order to support resettling personnel in gaining the necessary real life experience and sector confidence to apply for related work.
It was also lovely to have an experienced land agent in the audience providing the employed perspective and also to welcome a trustee from Veterans FarmAble and a Regimental Careers Management Officer (RCMO) from a local unit.
If you run a rural business and are looking for reliable, robust, quick-learning staff, come along and meet them at The Rural List.
Likewise, if you are somewhere along your own resettlement journey, and need some inspiration, solid advice or just to spend a couple of hours with like-minded people, come along to the next meeting.
What a fantastic meeting of The Rural List yesterday. Thanks to Ian Bester of kraal.farm (formerly DiAgri) and Farm 491 for an engaging and truly inspiring talk on his entrepreneurial journey in tech.
I’m pretty sure the audience of veterans and resettling military personnel went straight home to write their own business plans!
If you are looking to recruit ex-military into your business, come along and meet us at the next meeting.
If you are resettling and are seeking information or just need a nudge from a friendly veteran who is a few months ahead of you in the journey, come along.
Informal, informative and for you!
Thanks to our friends at Western Arable Ltd who invited us to their annual open day. It was a great opportunity to talk to farmers from across the south-west and learn about their needs and the particular challenges facing them today. Touring the grain processing, testing and storage facility provided an invaluable lesson in bespoke functional business design clearly demonstrating how investing in a painstakingly tailored facility has underpinned their business success.
Western Arable have recently hosted a Rural List member on a day's bespoke work experience and are keen to offer more. They also have two paid work experience opportunities available for the harvest period. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
If you run a rural business and are interested in recruiting ex-forces personnel, please get in touch or simply attend one of our forthcoming meetings. We would be delighted to welcome you
Nick Waloff, Executive Chairman of Cotswold Taste, spoke about the retail business of premium food and drink, explaining how he was working with businesses across the Cotswolds to enable all to benefit from the premium associated with the region. His talk touched on branding, marketing and establishing a small business.
Congratulations to Sam who has joined the Environment Agency.
Congratulations to Clare on your new role with The National Trust.
A very sociable evening with several employer representatives:
- Phil and Julie of Western Arable Ltd
- Jeremy, an entrepreneur developing an emerging forces employer in farming - watch this space!
- George, a volunteer with military CIO and Foundation Farm-Able.
As a direct result of this meeting, two attendees arranged work experience with Western Arable and two subsequent introductions have been made. Western Arable are also keen to offer paid seasonal experience to two veterans during the busy harvest season this year. See advertisements elsewhere on this website.
For our first monthly meeting, fifteen resettling personnel welcomed David Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Land Management and Forestry at the Royal Agricultural University. David spoke about the role of a rural estate manager, the qualifications routes and professional training required and then spent further hour answering individual questions. The RAU courses team were also there to answer questions on finances and course structure.
Thank you to the RAUSU for allowing us to meet in The Tithe Barn on campus.
Over 80 people helped launch The Rural List Cirencester at a special event held at the Royal Agricultural University.
The Alliston Centre, home of Farm 491, the university's specialist agri-tech incubation centre, provided a superb venue for guests to mingle, be inspired by Wendy Faux's exhibition, "If the Boot Fits ..." and hear the stories of veterans who now operate within the rural sector. It was a fertile ground to create a fellowship of mentors and the peer support network which is often cited as vital to successful resettlement.
The event was widely covered by local press and Farmers Weekly ran a feature a few weeks later.
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