ONE of Scotland’s most prominent land agents has shown its commitment to the Scottish Government’s Women in Agriculture initiative by supporting women in the rural sector.
The initiative, formed following the ‘Women in Farming and the Agriculture Sector Report’, indicated that women are a crucial part of the national farming effort but are nonetheless a group whose contribution continues to be marginalised.
Launched by the First Minister in 2017, the initiative aims to raise awareness and improve gender equality in farming and agriculture, as well as encourage an ethos of enabling all individuals in the sector to apply and develop their skills and abilities.
Leading land and estate agency Bell Ingram has been providing support and professional development for women in this arena, most recently strengthening its team in Forfar with the appointment of a new assistant land agent.
Bell Ingram now has 12 women working in what was previously a male dominated sector and believes that the mix of skills and genders between the team members enables the firm to bring a more rounded service to its clients.
22-year-old Daragh Connon, from Banchory, Aberdeenshire, has joined Bell Ingram immediately following her graduation from Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC).
She will undertake two years of on the job training, known as an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), to become a Rural Chartered Surveyor.
She said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time with Bell Ingram so far, everyone in the office is so nice and completely supportive.
“Although I am originally from a farming family, I’ve always had an interest in rural activities and tried a few to decide what I wanted to do as a career. Whilst I do still enjoy them, I found that I was always drawn back to farming.
“When I was in college, I didn’t actually consider this as an option until I was around halfway through my degree. The rural APC pathway appealed to me as it meant I could learn and work at the same time.”
Daragh’s honours degree in Rural Business Management should stand her in good stead for pursuing a career in the sector.
At Bell Ingram, her day-to-day work currently sees her assist with a variety of land management tasks, including cropping plans, farm and estate management and property letting.
Daragh added: “The range of services and diversity of the firm means that every day is different and exciting.
“In my time at college, there were few other women on my course and I only have one friend who has pursued a similar path to my own. Towards the end of the four years, there were more women coming through but they were still far outnumbered by males.
“If I had any advice for a woman considering a career in this sector, it would be to just go for it. Don’t worry about what others might think and be willing to work hard to get to where you want to be.”
Malcolm Taylor, Head of Land Management and Partner in Charge of the Bell Ingram Forfar office, said: “Daragh has been a very welcome addition to the team in Forfar.
“Her enthusiasm and attitude to her work bodes well for her future and will act as an example to other women looking to develop a career in agriculture and rural land management.”
Established 117 years ago, Bell Ingram has 130 professional staff across 11 UK offices including: farm, estate and forestry managers; chartered surveyors, estate agents, architects, planners, and building surveyors; and tourism, GIS mapping, and renewable energy specialists.
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