Managing estates for the benefit of people today and tomorrow

Published : Tue 4th Oct

Careers in Estate Management at the National Trust are both riveting and rewarding. Two of our Senior Estate Managers, Sarah Archer and Oliver Cooper, have spoken about why they decided to join the Trust, and why they love what they do.

Building a career defined by variety

The past seven years have seen Sarah Archer develop a thriving career.

I joined the National Trust around seven years ago from private practice, having recently qualified as a rural surveyor. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to grow and develop my career, resulting in me becoming a Senior Estate Manager for London and Surrey. I manage a team of 14 estate management professionals and alongside this role of overseeing the department as a whole, I manage three portfolios day-to-day.

There’s great variety in our roles. We care for an extensive and diverse let estate covering commercial, residential, and agricultural properties. Not only are we responsible for their conservation, we’re tasked with making sure our properties are commercially managed. As a charity, it’s vital that our assets are put to the best use to support the Trust’s work in protecting and caring for the nation’s places.

Our team gets involved in many exciting projects. This can include anything from refurbishment works, exploring ways to reduce carbon from our let estate to adaptive re-use projects of redundant agricultural buildings, through to land management. This will shape our estates for generations to come.

My role gives me the opportunity to make a real difference with our work, shaping, conserving, and progressively leading our estates in a way that benefits everyone. I regularly find you can tangibly see the difference you’ve made and the impact your work will have on the future.

We get to work in some of the most amazing places; historic buildings, unique properties, and special landscapes. Within London and Surrey for example we have the Trust’s only arboretum and navigational water way, as well as the historic properties you might expect. There are always opportunities to get involved with different work and broaden your knowledge.

We’re committed to getting things done, and working for the Trust in estate management will certainly never be dull!

What makes land management different at the Trust?

Oliver Cooper joined the Trust in summer of 2021 as a Senior Estate Manager after 10 years’ experience in the private sector.

After 10 years working as a Land Agent for both a large national firm and a regional practice, I joined the National Trust as a Senior Estate Manager in the summer of 2021 and have never looked back.

I had a desire to deliver genuine outcomes, not just income generation and capital growth. The focus on land use is at a multi-generational peak, with requirements for it to provide energy, food, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, public enjoyment and much more. The National Trust is a large-scale land and property owner that recognises and embraces those responsibilities and empowers its estate managers to deliver on those outcomes for the benefit of the nation.

What’s more, our teams are set up and resourced with these outcomes in mind. The team includes expertise in building from our building supervisors and surveyors, a 24/7 help line for tenant repairs, lettings and estate management officers alongside the estate management and a rural surveying community. This gives us the time, opportunities and expertise to efficiently manage the residential and commercial portfolio and focus on strategic outcomes - building relationships with tenant farmers, working in partnership with neighbouring land owners and helping to shape and deliver our Estate Management vision.