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A day in the life of a Graduate Property Manager

When two of our Graduates recently visited FirstPort’s  Marketing and Communications team to learn the ropes, we set them a task to write a blog about their experiences of being a Graduate Property Manager. Here are the results…

Ire Akinfisoye

It’s funny, one of the things I’ve heard since starting my career as a Property Manager is that ‘nobody grows up wanting to be a Property Manager’ and I must agree with this! Six months ago, I had no idea what property management was. I’m happy to say that I now have a really good understanding of the industry – from understanding important areas such as the Section 20 consultation process, to knowing some more random facts like how to identify a ‘swan next joint’ in guttering.

Now, detailing my day-to-day life as a Graduate Property Manager is actually a very interesting proposition and I’m going to do my best to take you on a graduate journey.

Our day-to-day lives as graduates can be really quite varied, no two weeks, sometimes no two days, are ever the same. New teams, new locations and new tasks, and there is always something new that we’re learning.

As graduates we’re in a very unique position where we get to spend time with every function of the business, and that means we get to see and spend time in all our offices, as well as spending time on a range of sites. Travelling has been a massive part of our graduate journey – I’ve been to more places in the last six months than I have been to in the last twenty-three years of my life!

Here’s a specific day that springs to mind…

I like to start my week the night before, checking I have everything in order. I’ve become much more organised since working for FirstPort, something that makes my mum the happiest person on the planet!

My day starts with me waking up (seems obvious right?) Well yes, it is, however on this day I woke up in in new place…Cardiff – and I was ready to get going.

On this day, I was with the Health and Safety team. This is the most important area of focus for FirstPort and it was good to gain an understanding as to why that is. We spent the day on one of our bigger and more complicated sites and were tasked with carrying out a health and safety audit. This was such an eye-opening task, I got to see everything that it takes to make a building safe and compliant, the changing face of health and safety, particularly after the tragic events of Grenfell, and the responsibility we have towards our residents’ safety.

It’s hard to sum up my whole graduate experience and my day-to-day dealings without writing a novel; however I think that’s the beauty on the graduate scheme and the experience. I’ve learnt so much in the last six months because of the vast variety of things that I’ve seen. I’ve seen so many different properties, gained a really good technical understanding and built relationships with people in different parts of the business. I’ve been supported and guided massively by my exec mentor, guidance that graduates from other schemes don’t have the privilege of getting. As far as an introduction to an industry, I’d have to say that it’s been a really good one.

This graduate scheme has given me an experience that I believe is going to set me up for the future and is going to help me become the best Property Manager for FirstPort… and, who knows, maybe the best Property Manager in the world!

I hope that one day we have a generation who grow up wanting to be Property Managers.

Zaynah Ali

Hi, my name is Zaynah and I am one of this year’s Graduate Property Managers. Property management is not a career many are aware of, me included. A common conversation starter is “who would have thought you would grow up to be a Property Manager one day.” Precisely who would have thought so!

A typical day in our lives… well, to be honest, every day has been diverse and far from your so called typical working day. Each day is surprisingly different, we are constantly on the move to any one of the four offices, shadowing the various departments in FirstPort or visiting sites across the country.

To give you an indication of the last six months as a graduate PM:  30+ departments, 22+ sites and four offices. Luckily for us we have a team of eight Graduates on this journey alongside support from Learning and Development, the Alumni Grads and an exec mentor, each to guide us throughout it all. A mentor is one who is there for you on your journey of growth to develop and guide your career path. No day is the same and the diversity in the job role is something to look forward to. You’re always heading in different directions and that’s the exciting part!

Let me take you through a week I spent with the Digital Eagles last month. The Digital Eagles were a great addition to FirstPort, supporting an industry where many individuals are field based. Being tech savvy in today’s world aids a flexible way of working, which has benefits for customers too. The beginning of our Digital Eagle week began by us located at the Luton office, working through interactive modules from coding to your digital identity. Mid-week a ‘Tea and Teach’ was hosted at a Retirement site advising residents to stay safe online. By the end of the week an agile work gathering on the new  eLearning platform was implemented which worked superbly. I was able to be creative and learn how to produce a new eLearning module, which was an interesting process.

Travelling around the UK has been enjoyable – from Bournemouth to Cambridge and then to London and more.  it has been an experience for sure! Being able to capture the scenery changing from an industrial metropolitan to a coastal area has been wonderful.

The best thing about the scheme for me has been the opportunity to understand how so many diverse areas of the business function, and to meet people from diverse backgrounds. From IT, Legal and Accounts, to HR, Marketing and Business Development.

I have been able to grow explore and challenge myself in many circumstances. Examples are Graduate presentations, HR Development Days, Tea & Teach Sessions and Charity Events for our charity partner, Centrepoint. I am one of the Charity Champions this year and this has been delightful to get involved in raising money for a good cause and helping young people to attain a better future.

Another thought-provoking week was with Business Development. This team provides information about FirstPort to clients, whilst designing management strategies to be presented. The start of the week demonstrated everyone’s role within the team and how they retrieve leads to further increase business. Mid-week I had an opportunity to sit in on a client liaison meeting. Towards the end of the week, a pricing call to discuss potential leads as well as a client meeting on a new site.

To sum it up, it has been a wealth of experience where I have also benefited immensely professionally, as well as personally. Having a mentor has helped me incredibly in direction throughout my first job role since graduating last year.

A piece of advice for future graduates going forward is to be yourself, embrace everything and take the opportunities that come your way!