From education to employment

College Launches New Fast-Tracked Degrees

cow in a field

Plumpton College has launched two new degree programmes, Rural Land & Business Management and Sustainable Agriculture with a partner for Higher Education, the University of Greenwich.

Unique to the UK, the full honours degree programmes are condensed into ‘accelerated degrees’, meaning students can graduate in just two years. This significantly reduces study costs, with tuition fees totalling just £10,800 per year, £21,600 total compared to £27,750 total for a traditional three-year honour’s degree.

The programmes, subject to validation, form part of a wider suite of land and management courses the college provides including degrees in Sustainable Horticulture Management and Sustainable Land Management.

Endorsed by the sector, the new degrees have been developed in partnership with the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), and a panel of land agents and businesses ensuring the programme modules equip graduates with the key skills and knowledge to succeed as future Land Agent, Chartered Surveyor or Estate Manager.

Location doesn’t have to be a barrier to applicants, the programmes are studied in ‘blocks’ of weeks, one week on campus just outside Lewes Sussex, where students reside in the Ofsted-Outstanding accommodation, with the rest of each month spent in the workplace, studying whilst earning.

Jeremy Kerswell, Principal at Plumpton College shares:

“We are seeing a significant rise in the number of students who wish to get into the workplace quicker, progress through their industry, and lower the time and cost of study. These degrees, unique within land and environment higher education, offer access to careers and employers in way not offered at other institutions. The four land and environment degree courses at Plumpton College have been informed by the significant changes in the UK agricultural industry both post-Brexit and in the context of climate change as well as global challenges in sustainability, food security and natural resource management. These unique and innovative shorter degrees support students into employment and help meet the increasing challenge of resourcing this sector which is crucial to the rural economy.”

The BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Agriculture features modules such as emerging technologies and precision cropping systems, ecology, biodiversity and natural resources and livestock and crop production. The program draws on developing theories of sustainable and regenerative agriculture incorporating a practical focus, which upon finishing graduates could enter several career roles including farm management, policy development or agri-food supply chain management.

Providing a pathway for graduates to their RICS accreditation and taking the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), the BSc in Rural Land & Business Management equips students with the critical skills and knowledge to advise clients both large and small how best to optimise the use of their property and business assets. This could lead graduates into careers such as agricultural consultancy, property agency, investment and development or infrastructure development and land acquisition. It is recommended that when not at the University centre studying, students acquire a trainee graduate position within a land agency, getting a kickstart into their career and the vital workplace experience to succeed in this field.

Jeremy Moody, Secretary and Adviser CAAV said:

“Rural professional work is very busy and growing. The traditional work including rural land management, agricultural tenancies, taxation-related work and compulsory purchase is now joined by work with changing agricultural and environmental policies, rural diversification, the policies for mitigating and adapting to climate change, emerging natural capital markets and the competing uses for rural land.

While the CAAV now has more Fellows and more in training than ever before, the increasing volume and range of the needs of rural clients mean that the profession needs to attract more people than are coming through the present university courses.  The prospect of additional recruits joining the profession through Plumpton College’s proposed courses is very welcome.”

Leo Hickish, Chairman of rural Chartered Surveyors Batcheller Monkhouse firmly endorses these degrees, together with many colleagues from other firms.

“The demand across our sector for graduates continues to grow.  At a time of great change within the rural sector, we see these new degrees as a much-needed boost. Plumpton College is to be commended for the innovative approach adopted here, allowing students to graduate quicker and earn whilst they learn.”

Students, when on campus will have access to the 2500-acre estate based in the heart of the South Downs. The college has outstanding practical resources including one of the largest commercial educational farms within the UK, with beef, dairy, sheep, and pig enterprises, with lectures taking place in the newly opened Agri-Food Centre. 

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