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// Your FirstPort Team

Our graduates reflect on their first year at FirstPort

FirstPort Graduate Programme
Each year we recruit a new cohort of graduates to join FirstPort. We equip them with a holistic and extensive learning programme which covers a wide range of business areas as well as training opportunities! Just to name a few, including:

  • IRPM
  • Customer First
  • IOSH
  • Concierge Academy
  • People Leadership

This is an excellent opportunity for graduates interested in FirstPort to gain industry knowledge and experience in order to excel in their future roles with us, but don’t just take our word for it. Learn more about our graduate scheme as our 2019 cohort share their experiences of the programme.

Centrepoint Charity Work – George Hawkins
“Over the last year I have been leading the graduate’s charity efforts with Centrepoint – FirstPort’s elected charity partners. They help vulnerable young people through practical and emotional support so that they can find a job and live independently. We visited Centrepoint’s services in Camberwell within our first couple of weeks in the business. This really highlighted the commitment and brilliant work the staff do and how they run on a daily business. Personally, this has been my first involvement with charity work on this scale. Whilst I had contributed to charities in the past, I had never set up or ran events and this was the bulk of my responsibilities as a charity champion over the last year. I am proud to say that the events that we put on were a great success. These ranged in scale from a guess the sweets in the jar to the Christmas drive, which saw contributions and involvement from the whole business. For the Christmas drive, we set out to provide Christmas presents for young parents and their children who would otherwise go without or receive very little. I have found the programme greatly fulfilling and I have developed many transferrable skills from this experience.”

Rotations/Shadowing Operations (PS/Retirement/Luxury) – Eraldo Ahmetaj
“Throughout the graduate programme we have been able to build our connections by various means of networking and shadowing different individuals, allowing us to get a taste of the possible roles we would undertake. These experiences were throughout the first 6 months of the programme and included mainly shadowing: Area Managers in Retirement, Property Managers in Property Services and Development Managers in Large & Complex. This part of the programme took us to all corners of the country, the travelling and organisation involved in this gave us a good understanding of another part of the Property Managers’ responsibilities. The Retirement & Property Services divisions in particular involve a lot of travelling, Property Managers in these divisions can have anywhere between 20-30 sites scattered around a large area. One of the most important things which we took away from this was that organisation is pivotal if you are going to handle the workload and be able to visit each of your sites at least once a month. Each brand provided us with a different experience and allowed us to see how the roles differ from one another. One of the main things which we picked up was the fact that no two sites are the same and each manager has a different approach when it comes to managing their particular developments – this has allowed us to pick up various techniques which we can implement on our own sites.”

Rotations (Support Functions) – Marjan Ahmed
“The best way to emphasise the importance of support function rotations is just how much we need them once we’re in our roles. This can be from getting the budgets for a particular site completed with the Accountants to starting a large-scale project for decorations with Major Works. I’s a great opportunity to get to know people across the business who will be your ‘go to’ whenever you have a question that needs answering or a possible cheeky favour. Beyond that, there is one other crucial point I want to get across to all my fellow new grads and that as a Property Manager, we will be having to use many systems and it can all seem very daunting, however this is a brilliant opportunity to get ahead of the game. Get familiar with our databases especially at Customer Service and Asset Compliance, as they will be wizards with how they utilise them.”

Placement Fair – Ire Akinfisoye
“In order to get the placement opportunity, we all attended a placement fair where we met hiring managers across all our divisions. The day consisted of various tasks and presentations, one to one interviews and lots of networking. The placement fair was a really important part of our journey as it allowed us to get real interview experience and gain confidence when it came to creating and delivering presentations. I believe that the interview skills that we gained during the placement fair will prove invaluable to us in the future. I was lucky enough to secure a placement at Ingres Park after the placement fair, I’ve learnt so much from the experience and the team, I believe that I’m going to be a better Property Manager because of this placement opportunity.”

Year End Blog HR Networking Event – Zaynah Ali
“Current and alumni graduates were given the option to deliver a presentation on themselves to a group of peers and the HR Team or a more interactive, informal experience from our own table in a Fayre. Themes discussed in the presentation centered around my journey so far, as well as the characteristics of a Property Manager. This detailed the last 12 weeks, 26 departments and 17 sites that had been visited along my journey at FirstPort up until this point. These themes were also discussed in the Fayre and this format allowed more insight on every individual’s personality including our own insights and development within the graduate scheme so far. We also discussed the challenges we have encountered and the learnings that has taken place. The day was a success and great practice for those who found tasks like presentations challenging, including myself. Both set ups challenged individuals in different ways and offered different opportunities to grow and improve. The main aim of the day was to connect with the HR Team and to share our own unique journey with them and this was successfully accomplished.”

Graduate Buddy’s and Assessment Centre – Alex Worsdale
“Following on from the HR networking event, one of the most important features of FirstPorts’ graduate scheme has to be the access to graduate buddy’s we get. Graduate buddies are the previous year’s intakes of graduates, they’ve just finished the first or second year of the program and act similarly to our executive mentors in that they’re there to assist us with any questions we have about the program. They’re able to provide advice from their experiences of it. It’s great to be able to network with them and go to them when making decisions regarding the graduate scheme as they know what we’re going through and any challenges we might encounter and offer advice to resolve them.”

Executive Mentor – Nisar Shaikh
“The opportunity to be paired with an Executive was one of the main things that grabbed my attention during induction week. I write from a unique standpoint as I am probably the only graduate who has had 2 Executive mentors. Normally, a graduate is buddied with an Exec for the year and this is done randomly. However, the stars aligned and provided me with a mentor that I had a lot in common with and who made the conversations open so that we could set aims that I want to achieve. Both short and long term. I was having weekly meetings; face-to-face or via phone call. I was challenged on a weekly basis. Also, it allowed me to question things that I thought didn’t make sense. When I had ideas that I believed would make a difference, I had an ear that would listen and potentially could help the business in some manner.
I was given a new Executive mentor as my previous one was now leaving. I walked into the situation with a positive mindset and was not surprised when my new mentor was great and was up to date with my progress so far. After spending one session getting to know each other a little better it was down to business. I was now working on my development, improving skills and building new ones. I was given the courage to step out of my box and the opportunity to fail. It is all a chance to learn and improve. I grabbed it with both hands and haven’t looked back.”

Placement – Syed Naqvi
“I chose to do my placement far away; it gave me the chance to travel and explore new areas, meet new people and learn different styles of working. The trips were amazing, there were a range of sites to manage and interesting conversations had, learning the differences with terminologies and legislations up in Scotland as compared to the rest of England. Unfortunately, coronavirus restrictions prevented further visits. Although I couldn’t physically go to site, I was given projects and admin tasks to work with – liaising with contractors and procurement team to accredit and condense our suppliers, it gave me an insight of the scale we work on including the type of people we work with; respectable experts in their profession if you’re wondering.
Variety! It’s never the same day twice, always something new to look forward to and learn. Supplier projects, presentations, MySight analysis, target setting, admin tasks and many more; this is just a fraction of the areas we explore but enough to show the level of diversity in just the placement alone. I feel prepared and ready to embrace my next role. I’m certain you will cherish your placement as time fly’s by too quick. The support and learning will prepare you to work independently. I can already see an improvement in; my time management, content creation, research skills, communications and networking. I couldn’t stress enough how easy it is to get along with FirstPort staff and seek support.”

Career Opportunities
People are at the centre of everything we do. The graduate blogs only tells part of the story.
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