Two heads are better than one: The IRPM and FirstPort working together to support the sector

I’ve been in the property services sector for over 25 years and I am passionate about the industry and the opportunities it provides both the staff that we employ and the customers that we serve. There are some exciting initiatives on the horizon and the next few years will see our industry evolve and develop at pace and scale. It’s a really exciting time to be in leadership roles in two organisations that really are at the forefront of that change.

They say two heads are better than one, and that’s certainly my view in terms of how both the IRPM and FirstPort’s contributions complement each other to address the big issues facing our industry, two of which I have highlighted below.

Defining a career path for Property Managers

I am passionate about creating a more defined career path in residential property management. Wouldn’t it be great if future generations said ‘when I grow up I want to be a Property Manager’ ? My career in property happened by accident and my story is far from unique. It is a career people seem to fall into rather than plan, and that’s a real shame. It’s a shame not only for the industry, which is potentially missing out on talent, but also a shame for young people who, with the right encouragement and development opportunities, could flourish in our industry. Both the IRPM and FirstPort are strong advocates of getting property management on the career map, and making sure it is better understood by schools, universities and specialist recruiters. On the back of a hugely successful Graduate training programme, now in its third year, FirstPort is taking part in the IRPM Property Manager Apprentice Scheme which launched this month. Once people are in the industry, we are also committed to professional development and FirstPort fully supports its operational staff completing IRPM qualifications. Having teams IRPM qualified helps raise standards across the sector and provides individuals with an independent professional accreditation, and an important validation of their skills and knowledge.

Responding to the changing market and customers

Like most sectors, being able to adapt to a changing market is essential to success, and the IRPM and FirstPort are at the forefront of embracing and driving the change agenda in the property management sector. The insight that FirstPort can provide on customer expectations and lifestyle choices is contributing to the IRPM’s development of its new specialist qualification focused on the Build to Rent market, which is currently being trialled. This qualification will help provide Property Managers with a view that takes them beyond the front door and traditional block management to tenant management and community engagement as we see communal space being more desirable to customers who want not only a home, but a community from their development – this is discussed more by our Managing Director for FirstPort Bespoke Property Services, Sue Petri here.

My IRPM tenure will take us to 2018, and I am looking forward to looking back at the changes we have witnessed and the response from the sector to these exciting challenges. More importantly, I look forward to working in an industry that supports young people to flourish within it, bringing a new dimension to an ever changing, exciting landscape. 

About the IRPM

The IRPM was launched in 2002 as a means of delivering a portable professional qualification in residential property management, available to anyone working in the sector and accepted by all those operating within it.
The Institute’s key objectives are to:

  • Raise standards in the residential property management sector
  • Provide individuals with independent accreditation of their professional skills
  • Provide a career development path for individuals
  • Aid in the process of recruiting new entrants to the sector
  • Assist practitioners in assessing job applicant capabilities
  • Provide opportunities for Continuing Professional Development
  • Improve the standing of the sector in the eyes of the public