The old pen and paper networking trick - still a worthy approach?

TheDeerWalker

Well-Known Member
Coming to you guys as people with way more experience in this world then me.

My nephew, currently working off shore, has a contract coming to an end. He's 29 and looking to find some sort of job in the estates in the Highlands, his dream is Deer management and while he has an FAC and experience recreationally stalking I have said that he'll need real life Highland Stalking experience as I assume (never really done it) that's it a completely different to Roe in the Central Belt. The hard bit seems to be the gaining experience, I got him a few guided stalks on the hinds as an attempt to get a start in his career change, but two stalks doesn't make a portfolio. As he is still off shore and will be until October so can't go knocking on doors asking if people need help extracting and just following and helping, my suggestion is the old fashion pen and paper and write a letter to the Stalker on the estate asking if they need some assistance during the Hind season, make it clear your intentions of career change and also that you have no expectation of taking your rifle and you are just a helper looking for experience.

He seemed to take it on board but there are a few questions that came up, so I thought I'd ask a group of people that have a wealth of knowledge on this.
1) Is this still an acceptable approach? - call it old fashioned but that's how I would have done it and I can see no reason that it would be classed as unacceptable. If you can find an email then email would work but I just prefer a letter.
2) Is he likely to get rejected on an insurance basis? I said to get a membership to SACS/BASC/NGA but will the estate have insurance issues with this?
3) The largest barrier to entry is finding out who the stalkers are on estates, my suggestion was get an address for the estates and just put the recipent as "Estate Deer Manager" or "Estate Stalker" - any better suggestions?

I know this is a very hard industry to get into, but always worth putting in the effort to try.

Any suggestions would be welcomed?
 
Coming to you guys as people with way more experience in this world then me.

My nephew, currently working off shore, has a contract coming to an end. He's 29 and looking to find some sort of job in the estates in the Highlands, his dream is Deer management and while he has an FAC and experience recreationally stalking I have said that he'll need real life Highland Stalking experience as I assume (never really done it) that's it a completely different to Roe in the Central Belt. The hard bit seems to be the gaining experience, I got him a few guided stalks on the hinds as an attempt to get a start in his career change, but two stalks doesn't make a portfolio. As he is still off shore and will be until October so can't go knocking on doors asking if people need help extracting and just following and helping, my suggestion is the old fashion pen and paper and write a letter to the Stalker on the estate asking if they need some assistance during the Hind season, make it clear your intentions of career change and also that you have no expectation of taking your rifle and you are just a helper looking for experience.

He seemed to take it on board but there are a few questions that came up, so I thought I'd ask a group of people that have a wealth of knowledge on this.
1) Is this still an acceptable approach? - call it old fashioned but that's how I would have done it and I can see no reason that it would be classed as unacceptable. If you can find an email then email would work but I just prefer a letter.
2) Is he likely to get rejected on an insurance basis? I said to get a membership to SACS/BASC/NGA but will the estate have insurance issues with this?
3) The largest barrier to entry is finding out who the stalkers are on estates, my suggestion was get an address for the estates and just put the recipent as "Estate Deer Manager" or "Estate Stalker" - any better suggestions?

I know this is a very hard industry to get into, but always worth putting in the effort to try.

Any suggestions would be welcomed?

Check SGA website or Rural Recruits for ghillie jobs if he is really commited going down that route.

To be frank, the Highland estates of old may soon be gone, bar a few where their owners have deep pockets and commitments to the ground. Even then they will have made a lot of changes.

NatureScot takes on volounteers to work on their Highland National Nature Reserves, but I think the minimum commitment is a few months. They used to take one year student placements but not sure if this is still going.

If he takes up any estate work, make sure he gets a contract in writing. Some estate factors/managers still play fast and loose, expect you to work for less than minimum wage, compulsory 'volounteering', go strip asbestos out of this old cottage etc etc.

Be careful going down the college route as well, some of these courses are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Sorry to sound negative, but best to be aware and protect yourself from pitfalls. Could be worth contacting your local Forestry and Land Scotland office to ask if the Rangers need any volounteers or if there are any apprentice roles coming up.

Be weary of 'contracting' as some have found they are losing money or earning less than minimum wage once all expenses are factored in.

Best of luck.
 
Check SGA website or Rural Recruits for ghillie jobs if he is really commited going down that route.

To be frank, the Highland estates of old may soon be gone, bar a few where their owners have deep pockets and commitments to the ground. Even then they will have made a lot of changes.

NatureScot takes on volounteers to work on their Highland National Nature Reserves, but I think the minimum commitment is a few months. They used to take one year student placements but not sure if this is still going.

If he takes up any estate work, make sure he gets a contract in writing. Some estate factors/managers still play fast and loose, expect you to work for less than minimum wage, compulsory 'volounteering', go strip asbestos out of this old cottage etc etc.

Be careful going down the college route as well, some of these courses are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Sorry to sound negative, but best to be aware and protect yourself from pitfalls. Could be worth contacting your local Forestry and Land Scotland office to ask if the Rangers need any volounteers or if there are any apprentice roles coming up.

Be weary of 'contracting' as some have found they are losing money or earning less than minimum wage once all expenses are factored in.

Best of luck.
I think this sounds like what probably happens. Sound advise from caberslash.
 
A good friend of mine gave up a great job in the NHS,moved into the under keeper role and handyman on an estate owned by an American.

In short the keeper was a raging alky.
The other house keeping staff viewed him with great disdain,the estate owner fed him lie after lie after lie.

The bigger house he was offered when his family grew

Well it went like this


"Oh that was never going to happen"


I'd advise supremely strongly to go into the forestry commission and avoid the estate malarkey.

Save for achentoul if he can get a foot in there.
 
My advice would be keep doing the offshore stuff as that provides really good income, and use the time onshore to build other skills.

One member of my family started as an Art Teacher on Shetland, married to another art teacher. They couldn’t make ends meet so he went offshore.

During his time at home he built a beautiful house in the ruins of an old barn, and then used rest of spare time on his Art. They raised five children, have a thriving art gallery and have been their own people for last 20 / 30 years. Offshore paid for all this.
 
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