Inspirational story for anyone contemplating career switch to surveyor

Land Agency graduate takes new path from law into land and property, and returns to native Wales

18 November 2015

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Cooke & Arkwright’s Land Agency team has welcomed a new graduate rural surveyor, Rhian Howells into its team. A London-trained solicitor, Rhian has switched career and relocated to Wales, moves that fulfil twin aspirations to work more closely with the countryside, and to return home to her native land. Her story is interesting and could be inspirational for anyone who is not quite sure that they have chosen the right career path.

A graduate in Geography at Oxford, Rhian had gone on to work in commercial property at international law firm Taylor Wessing in London. Over time, she found that she was drawn to the commercial aspects and wanted more direct contact with the properties and tenants themselves. Moreover, having previously worked for Gower AONB in Swansea as a Projects Officer, the thought of working in land management in Wales was beginning to take shape. Researching the fields open to her in property and land management, Rhian looked into the rural surveyor pathway. Taking advice from surveyors within the profession, she decided to commit to a one-year Master’s degree in Rural Land and Business Management at Henley, a course which prepared her to ‘hit the ground running’.

Her bold move in taking a career break in order to gain the qualifications that would open the door into land and property surveying paid off, and Rhian joined Cooke & Arkwright in September 2015. Her responsibilities with the firm include land agency, lease advisory and utility work for prestigious clients including The Crown Estate, Plymouth Estate and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. Work with The Crown Estate’s marine interests in Wales includes general management of the foreshore and sea bed, conducting rent reviews and negotiating leases, advising on pontoons, moorings, public access facilities and nature conservation.

“Working with Cooke & Arkwright is a fantastic opportunity and I’m so glad I plucked up the courage to make the change,” she comments. “And my legal background has many uses and applications within my new career, so I can put my previous experience and training to good use. I’d encourage anyone, if they are not sure about making the change, to go ahead and do it!”

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group