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Project Manager – Rural Property & Development

The Ernest Cook Trust
Fairford Park, Fairford
£40-£45,000 pa
Closing date
19 Jun 2023

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Land, Property
Contract Type
Full Time
Land Surveying, Planning and Development, Project Management, Rural
Business Type

The Ernest Cook Trust

The Ernest Cook Trust is a land-based educational charity, one of the UK’s foremost providers and funders of Outdoor Learning.

As leaders in the Learning from the Land sector, The Ernest Cook Trust story spans six counties, seven decades and a growing team of dedicated staff, often working in partnership and collaborating with like-minded organisations across the UK.

The Trust’s mission is to inspire young people to achieve better educational and life outcomes through a range of Outdoor Learning programmes and activities.

The Trust’s Estates

The Trust owns and manages over 9,000 hectares of land and property made up of mainly let farmland but also 584 hectares of woodland, houses, cottages and a growing commercial portfolio. Land is owned in six counties: Buckinghamshire, Cumbria, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire. These rural landholdings are managed for income return and capital growth, whilst seeking ways to improve the environment and important habitats, and to evolve and protect landscapes.

As a land-based educational charity, the Trust is uniquely placed to share its land, knowledge and experience to inspire a greater love and understanding of the natural world, farming and sustainability.

Active management dictates that we are constantly looking for new opportunities and ways to evolve and improve our income stream in support of the Trust’s overall charitable object.

These already include long-term housing development proposals, natural capital and carbon, and biodiversity net gain projects alongside other long-term ambitious plans.

The Role

This is a new and important role for the Trust in support of our Property Strategy to deliver income growth and increase our charitable output. You will be instrumental in the delivery of a wide range of capital projects over the short, medium and long term, working closely with the Property Director. Projects could relate to opportunities to redevelop existing rural assets, brownfield sites or new developments of varying scale.

We have a diverse portfolio of projects at different stages of the planning and development process, and you will assist with managing key relationships with partners, planning authorities, contractors and consultants to ensure the successful delivery of outcomes.

We are looking for an experienced Project Manager with proven knowledge and skills required to add value to each project and assist in delivering a pipeline of projects critical to the Trust’s overall ambitions to grow our charitable offering.

The successful candidate will work as part of a wider Property Team based within our Head Office, although occasional travel to our rural landholdings across England will be required. This team of land and property management professionals is responsible for the Trust’s land and property assets and works closely with wider teams to take forward our estates in the best interest of our charitable object.

Main responsibilities:  

  • Managing the Trust’s portfolio of capital projects, implementing robust project management with appropriate governance, risk management, financial control, resource management, programme management, change control processes, review and reporting mechanisms.
  • Managing the delivery of each project to the agreed level of quality, programme and budget.
  • Building and maintaining productive relationships with planning authorities, key stakeholders and potential development partners to scope and progress potential development projects.
  • Acting as an ambassador for the Trust, building and maintaining productive relationships with all stakeholders, critical to the delivery of new projects.
  • Supporting structured communication strategies around specific projects in support of the Trust’s objectives for each Estate.
  • Leading on the programming and financial/development appraisals of projects.
  • Introducing and embedding project management skills and discipline into the Trust’s capital projects and wider property management function.
  • Providing regular progress reports to the Property Director highlighting risks, opportunities and divergences from agreed time, cost, or quality parameters.
  • Planning and managing local consultation and stakeholder engagement in relation to project proposals, working with colleagues and consultants, and with active involvement in public meetings as required.
  • Dealing with contract management to ensure delivery on time, to budget and that quality and best value are achieved.
  • Assist with coordinating and running design team meetings, incorporating professionals such as planning consultants, architects, engineers, surveyors, etc. as appropriate.
  • Carry out financial appraisals of development projects and keep the costs under regular review, reporting changes to the Property Director.
  • Evaluate projects on completion to gain feedback and ideas from key stakeholders and colleagues, and use the knowledge gained to improve future projects and processes as appropriate by commissioning ‘lessons learnt’ reviews and reporting recommendations to the Property Director

The above list of duties is not exclusive or exhaustive, the post-holder will be required to undertake such tasks as may reasonably be expected within the scope of the role.

Working at The Ernest Cook Trust

We want your time within the growing and friendly team at the Trust to be fun and rewarding. As well as a competitive salary we offer a training budget to help you develop your own skills and knowledge. Our Head Office is currently set in the beautiful Fairford Park, a truly uplifting place to work, which provides plenty of opportunities to walk the river with colleagues (or your dog!) during breaks. Good food is important to us, and we aim to eat together once a week.

Our benefits are generous:

  • Employer pension contribution equating to 10% of gross salary (Employee contribution at 5%).
  • 27 days annual leave (pro rata) plus statutory holidays and discretionary 3 days at Christmas.
  • Life Assurance. Access to Employee Assistance Programme - 24/7 Healthline, mental health support service, financial and legal helpline and more.
  • Dynamic, creative and welcoming working environment.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion  

Embracing diversity is an essential part of the work of The Ernest Cook Trust and one of our core values. We are committed to treating everyone as a unique individual, fairly and with respect, irrespective of race, disability, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, or religion. We are committed to:

  • Promoting equality of opportunity for all individuals.
  • Treating everyone accessing our services with fairness, respect and dignity.
  • Promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect.
  • Preventing occurrences of unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimization.
  • Fulfilling all our legal obligations under the equality legislation and associated codes of practice.
  • Complying with our own Equal Opportunities policy and associated policies.

How to Apply In the first instance, please download, save and complete the Application Form available via The Ernest Cook Trust website

Upload your completed application to: 29972

Closing Date Monday 19 June 2023 at 09:00

1st Interviews Tuesday 4 July 2023 at The Ernest Cook Trust Head Office, GL7 4JH.

2nd Interviews Monday 10 July 2023 at The Ernest Cook Trust Head Office, GL7 4JH.

The appointment will be subject to satisfactory background checks (including Disclosure and Barring Service) and proof of the right to work in the UK.

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