Securing the right people as estate managers is key to the service we offer. Our managers have to be confident and caring, first-aiders, computer literate with management experience and preferably knowledgeable about gardening and building care. A recent round of interviews has reminded us that finding all these qualities in one individual is a tall order.

Over 35 years we have established a tried and tested procedure. Surprising though it may seem, advertisements in The Lady get the best response, because it is known as the place to look for residential positions.

Applications can come from anywhere in the UK and sometimes from abroad from people planning a return to this country. It is not uncommon for Cognatum to make several appointments at the same time after short-listing candidates for interview. Few candidates have experience in the role, but the in depth interviewing process has proved so successful in finding people with the right blend of skills that half of our estate managers have been with us for five years or more.

Appointments are always conditional on references and a probationary period. Where couples are appointed, we are careful to ensure both are compatible with the demands of the job.

Nowadays we have other recruitment options, including our website which includes a section on jobs. We also sometimes use recruitment agencies specialising in people coming from the armed forces and police, who often have the combination of practical and personal skills required.

Lyn and Dave Logsdon are the new courtyard managers at Berrow Court, Upton on Severn. Dave has retired from the Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, while Lyn had a career in accounts