The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is looking to the future.

The CAAV is a specialist professional body representing, qualifying, and briefing almost 3000 members.

In his most recent blog, secretary and adviser to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), Jeremy Moody said that, while having more Fellows and Probationers than ever, the CAAV is conscious that rural practices feel an acute shortage of staff for the growing range and volume of work coming in.

The Scottish Farmer: View of a farm gate leading into lush green countryside.View of a farm gate leading into lush green countryside.

"With work growing faster than we are, this feels more than the general shortage of staff in the wider economy. The CAAV has been tackling this with a round of meetings with some employers and universities to see how we can work together to attract and bring on the significantly increased number of good people that the profession needs.

"These discussions have helped to shape the steps the CAAV is to take to answer the challenge. Alongside that, we see the benefits of employers offering work experience and local promotion in schools while the universities are directly seeking their next students."

Mr Moody continued: "The profession relies on the universities and colleges to provide almost all entrants with a college education preparing them for work in rural practice, qualification as a CAAV Fellow then coming after further practical experience in work until ready to take the CAAV examinations. The CAAV has good and valued relations with these institutions in both England and Scotland.

Each offers courses in their own style, giving entrants a choice of options, each suiting some. Recent years have seen the addition of courses that blend college study with practical work, each reinforcing the other and echoing the correspondence course that many older members will recall. Others continue to prefer the model of a full-time degree course as suiting them. Masters courses offer further routes, especially for those with non-cognate degrees or changing careers. The profession benefits from the choice."

A swift review of the major providers shows:

- the RAU with a three year undergraduate degree and a Masters course (some now taking that part time)

- Harper Adams offers an undergraduate degree with a sandwich year in work, full and part-time Masters courses, and now the degree apprenticeship course with the first cohort, studying and earning at the same time, now its final fifth year, and this year’s first year much expanded

- Reading with optional rural modules for both undergraduate and full time Masters courses in real estate

- Aberdeen with a one-year post-graduate course

- the Scottish Rural University College offering modules in full and part time courses

The Scottish Farmer: Jeremy Moody Jeremy Moody

These courses are now to be joined by Plumpton College in Sussex offering a two year accelerated BSc honours degree course in Rural Land and Business Management to start in September 2024, with validation to come from the University of Greenwich. This is a response to local south-eastern employers and has then been developed in discussion with them and the CAAV.

It is aimed at those directly entering work in the profession whether from school, starting a second career, or otherwise. Linking practical professional work and college study, it will offer the course in cycles of four weeks, one week in college and three in work, spread over six semesters, each pair equal to a year. The shorter course means lower tuition fees for the student while having the benefit of direct exposure to practice and people, learning how their employer and the business work.

Mr Moody concluded: "It is now for employers and potential entrants to look at the range of options and find what suits them. For the new Plumpton course, as for the Harper Adams degree apprenticeship course, with the practical blend of study and work, employers and applicants looking to take advantage of such a mix of learning and work should now be looking to find each other.

"Showing confidence in a growing profession, this new course will add capacity and choice to the existing valued work of the universities to the benefit of a profession urgently seeking more entrants – needing all, we wish all well."