During my time at secondary school, I had no idea what my desired career was. I wasn’t a big fan of school and knew that another two years in that environment wasn’t right for me. I chose to study Business at a local college with the hope it would help me decide what I wanted to do in the future. However, at the end of my 2-year course I was still completely lost in my next step. I thought that I should get a Business-related apprenticeship to give me a taste of working, whilst also gaining a qualification. I applied to Mouchel (now WSP) to be a Business Administrative Apprentice in their land referencing team. Before my interview, like most people new to land referencing, I struggled to research what exactly it was. There wasn’t much information on the internet, so I went into the interview a bit unprepared. However, after I left the interview, I knew exactly what land referencing was and I also knew I wanted the job. I initially had another interview lined up for that after, but I cancelled that as I was hopeful of joining Mouchel. Luckily, I got the job.
My year as an apprentice in a growing land referencing team taught me a great amount. I was in a team which worked on a variety of projects, and as an apprentice I was able to get involved in every single one. This gave me a real insight into the different projects and the different ways they worked. This also gave me an opportunity to interact with everyone in the office and build great working relationships with colleagues of all levels. I had great support from my team with my studies, everyone was very understanding of the time I needed to split between my role as an employee and my role as a student. After an enjoyable year as an apprentice, I was offered a role as Junior Land Consultant within the same team and happily accepted!
During my time as a Junior Land Consultant at WSP, I worked on High Speed Two (HS2). When I had joined, we had already been working on the project for a few years, so the foundations were already set up. Our role as a land referencing team was to supply our client with landowner information along their desired route for the train. This meant we had to call/visit landowners to find out all the required information on the land. There were many ways to capture this information. We would phone/email the landowners and if we couldn’t get a response, we would visit them at their address. We then had to interpret this data into a way our clients had requested, and to ensure it was done with high quality. We then went on to serve different forms of notices on the land to the landowners to ensure the required surveys could be undertaken.
Following this, I became an Assistant Land Consultant at WSP and was given the opportunity to lead the survey side of our HS2 team. This was a great learning experience as you could get a bigger picture of the work we do and why we do it. I learnt how to programme our work packages, so the team had enough to do during the day. This also gave me a great opportunity to interact directly with our clients and handle any queries put to me. In October 2020, I joined Jacobs as an Assistant Land Specialist, joining the Strategic Pipeline Alliance project. I worked on a pipeline going from Bury St. Edmunds to Colchester. On this project, I was able to see a mini project in its infancy. Our team initially gathered all HMLR titles on the desired route and interpreted them on our Land Management System. With this information, we sent out Land Entry Questionnaires to gather all information about the Freeholders of the land. After we received the documents, we then had to organise access for our surveyors to enter the land and conduct all different types of surveys. This was a great experience as I had been able to see how a project begins.
I am currently seconded into HS2 from Jacobs, working in their Land Assembly team. I am assisting my old colleagues at WSP and working collaboratively to ensure the project meets its deadlines. This has opened my eyes to how a project is run on the client side. In all of my roles through my career so far, I have learnt new skills which is making me a more accomplished Land Referencer. I feel very lucky to have stumbled across a job in Land Referencing 5 years ago as an Apprentice and would not have changed a thing in my career.
Land Specialist at Jacobs