Sophie Stuart, a Career Ready Graduate from Pendleton Sixth Form, Salford City College, shares how the programme and an internship at HB Village Ltd gave her the confidence and skills to kick-start a successful future.
Before I joined the Career Ready programme I didn’t have much of an idea of what job I wanted to do. I knew that I was interested in buildings but I didn’t want to do architecture. There were so many job roles out there but I had no idea what any of them actually involved. I knew that I needed to quickly make up my mind as it wouldn’t be long before I finished college and would need to find a job.
Applying for the Career Ready Programme was possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It was an amazing experience; starting with the trip to London, going to the masterclasses and getting to meet my mentor, Waheed. Having a mentor basically means you get your own personal career advisor, role model, and a general go-to person who you can contact anytime, which I think is fab. It is especially helpful for someone like me who needs guidance and advice when making important decisions. However, the most beneficial part of my Career Ready experience by far was the internship I completed over Summer with a company called HB Villages Ltd who set up supported living schemes for disabled and elderly people. I was particularly interested in this company as my autistic brother Jack currently lives in a similar Supported Living scheme.
For the duration of the internship, I became part of the HBV land team and shadowed the role of Dan, a chartered surveyor. Straight away I got stuck into searching for new land to build on and carried out due diligence which involved reading through reams of planning reports. I also attended many meetings with commissioners and contractors which I must admit weren’t always very exciting. Although over time I felt able to contribute to what was being said which felt great. As well as this I also learnt how to use a programme called Argus which meant I could carry out appraisals to ensure the company were making a sufficient profit. Overall, I learnt a lot about how construction, property, law and economics all work hand in hand.
Aside from the skills I acquired in my internship, there were also other major benefits. The simple idea of commuting to Altrincham every day, dressing in smart office wear and ringing up estate agents not having a clue what I was talking about, were new to me and helped me gain an idea of what the working world was really like. Not to mention how I now have a degree in brew making!
In all seriousness, I really enjoyed my time at HB Villages. My 4-week internship became a 6-week internship as the company felt I was a great help and I guess didn’t want me to leave. I was then astounded when they had proposed the idea of me working there after my A-Levels, it was the last thing I was expecting.
I am now working full time at HBV as a trainee surveyor as well as starting my degree part-time in Property and Real Estate at Salford University which involves attending lectures one day a week. I am extremely busy trying to balance both work and studying but I am learning new things every day and gradually becoming more aware of the industry and becoming more and more confident. It can be stressful at times but just knowing that I am getting a kick start in my career at such a young age makes it all worth it.
My next goal is to complete my APC which I aim to start in the new year (2018) so I can hopefully become chartered by the time I am 23.