A Conversation with...
Alex Jubb is CHAP’s Capability Co-ordinator and joined the team during Covid-19 to chair regular partner meetings and coordinate associated administration. Now a fully qualified NEBOSH practitioner, he has become one of CHAP’s health and safety experts, a world away from his undergraduate degree in history.
Here he discusses his journey into agriculture.
I’m from a non-agricultural background, completing a degree in history at the University of Birmingham, and then a master’s in modern history from the University of York. My job immediately prior to joining CHAP was working full time in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties during the Covid pandemic. It couldn’t be further from agriculture! However, I had experience working in various project management and administration-type roles within the professional and academic sectors, so once CHAP came calling I knew this was a role I couldn’t turn down.
I’ve always wanted a role where I felt I was ‘doing my bit’, hence working the summer in the residential home at the height of the pandemic. Joining CHAP appealed, because it soon became very clear that the goals of the company matched my personal ambitions. It’s allowed me to combine my experience within the world of operations and project management with contributing to improving agriculture locally, nationally and globally. I knew that I would get such a sense of job satisfaction coming to work every day knowing I was doing something meaningful, and I’m very happy to say that I was proved right.
I’ve found my interpersonal skills to be incredibly useful. I’m used to speaking to a whole manner of people, having difficult conversations and taking on a variety of complex challenges. Whilst the majority of days at CHAP are fairly smooth-sailing, there are occasionally times I need to have a difficult conversation, or we need to push something through urgently, so these skills have come in handy. Because of my manner and the strong relationships I’ve built with the partners, colleagues often come to me and ask for help composing emails, or for support in video calls, and just generally getting the correct tone with individual partners and external clients.
Certainly, coming from a non-ag background the main experience I had with the sector was watching the farm machinery work the fields from my front window. Now I know all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. I never truly considered how my food reached my plate, it was just as easy to eat it, forget about it and get back to watching the football. Now, my whole mindset has changed and I’m committed to helping to improve our agricultural systems in any way that I can.
Each and every day, almost without fail, there is a surprise or two! However, probably the biggest surprise but a welcome one, was CHAP supporting me to complete the NEBOSH course – a globally-recognised health and safety qualification. As I threw myself into other aspects of the business and grew beyond the ‘day job’ of partner meetings, I found myself wanting to assist the company in other areas. I’m now a fully qualified NEBOSH practitioner, so any health and safety matters at any of our capabilities fall under my remit. A great challenge, but one that CHAP has trusted me with and a field in which I will hopefully have much success in the future.
I’ve found myself developing in so many ways since joining CHAP as a direct result of the company offering various training opportunities and allowing me the freedom to pursue different avenues to achieve the goals associated with my role. Moreover, I don’t think I’ve ever been as confident as I am currently in going direct to our Executive Team and offering contributions. The confidence the rest of the CHAP has in my ability to take on these additional tasks is always appreciated, and I think I’ve gone from strength to strength as a result.
Go for it! I was initially a little apprehensive that my lack of technical knowledge would hold me back but as long as you are enthusiastic, willing to learn and as eager to get stuck in as I was, you will almost certainly go far. I’ve found that everyone is striving to achieve the same broad goal – improving agriculture, whether that’s on their doorstep, or across the globe.