Luke Cross swapped a job he hated for the career of his dreams. The 27-yearold, from Shropshire, is in the last year of a Countryside Management degree, and already has a graduate job with The National Trust, his placement employer.
“I was a plumber, working long hours for no job satisfaction; I hated getting up in the morning and wanted to do anything else but plumbing. I was watching TV with my now wife and we saw an episode of Axemen and I said, in jest, “I’d love to do something like that” as I’ve always had a passion for the countryside and had long dreamed of working in the sector as a ranger. She researched all the necessary courses I needed to follow my dream and made me do it; she wasn’t happy to see me bored, uninspired and unenthusiastic about work.
“Hearing of Harper’s reputation within industry made me want to see what was available at the university. Attending an Open Day, and seeing like-minded students who genuinely enjoyed being at university, made me want to study there.
“My year-long work placement at The National Trust’s Attingham Park was great and got me employed in my dream career as a ranger – the best job in the world! I was helping with deer management, working with volunteers, getting the chance to educate the public during guided walks felling, using machinery, and chopping down big trees!
“When a job as a ranger became available they asked me to apply. They were looking for someone with dedication, enthusiasm and a will to get stuck in. It’s a very physical job but also requires a lot of thought to comply with all necessary laws and legislations and company policies. This provides a vast challenge which I thrive on.
“Being a graduate speaks volumes; it lets an employer know you have what it takes to accept a challenge and succeed. It will enable me to move up the career ladder within the Trust and ‘put my foot in the door’ for any higher management roles. The rural sector is an important one: more people than ever are enjoying our recreational sites, there’s more demand for renewables (wood fuel, for instance) and we’re always going to need food production. Whichever forms these industries evolve into they will still require world class graduates to provide and fulfil a professional service. Career limitations are down to your own ability; make yourself hireable and you will get the job you want!”