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A word from our intern - Katherine

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Just a tea-maid or time well spent – a year as an intern?!

Internships are sometimes seen as a year misspent; grabbing tea for higher ups, underpaid and overworked. I can safely say this has not been the case at Around Town Flats. I mean I do make tea and coffee but as a goodwill gesture to my teammates. The role is definitely a lot of hard work but you get what you put in, and it is certainly worth putting a lot in.

I must admit that this was not my first year doing a paid internship having worked in Germany for a year previously, but it has certainly been the one of the most fulfilling. Here comes a cliché – it has certainly helped me further develop some of the skills I had from abroad and to learn entirely new strengths and abilities. This includes, funnily enough, an idea of what I would like to do career-wise.

For many years I have been putting off the career decision and thankfully I am not alone facing the dreaded question of what the meaning of life is! Well, maybe not the meaning of life but at least what you would like to do with it.  So far I have been to New Zealand on a gap year, completed a degree with a year out based in Germany, and finally after this year’s internship at Around Town Flats (ATF), I have decided on a career direction. 

I have found that a wealth of experience and expertise awaited me at ATF.  From the company director to my fellow interns there has been support both in work and out.  I couldn’t have come to a better place equipped for encouraging and helping me to discover what I would like to do. This internship is treated as more than a year of experience and more like a supportive stepping stone towards your career.  From very early on I was asked what ATF could do for me and where I wanted to go. To paraphrase the film The Other Guys, they like to see the peacock fly.

Direction chosen and wings spread, I am now off to university again to gain my qualifications and become a surveyor. Although this is property related and obviously ties in well with the fact that I have been working in a letting agency for a year, other interns have gone off to pursue careers in entirely different fields such as marketing, town planning, accounting and even social work.  I can safely say that whatever you would like to do, even if it is just the discovery that a career in property is not for you, your decision will be supported.  

As a surveyor I am hoping to get involved in the commercial property sector.  The director has actively helped me develop an understanding as well as some of the skills I will need in the future, allowing me to experience commercial property lets and sales, playing an active role, as they have occurred during this past year.  I have also gained an industry recognised NFOPP qualification in Residential Lettings and Property Management.

I have found this year very rewarding and part of this was by telling people what I wanted to do or have a go at! Even if it was just a passing fancy, for instance after expressing my desire to inventory a property, over the summer, the director put me on an inventory team.

Don’t get me wrong, this year is a large reflection on the effort I have put in and, as a result, numerous fun side projects kept cropping up in addition to my every day roles and responsibilities. As an arrears administrator I have been to court a couple of times. As part of this I had to prepare legal documents and evidence to be used during real live court cases, which is now almost second nature to me.  In addition my opinions, as I found out, did matter - from my perspective on how to make a property more desirable to a slight change to make the paperwork process easier.

As a side note to stifle any disillusion it certainly wasn’t this easy at first and trust is gained over time and I undoubtedly wasn’t as confident about expressing my ideas as I am now but, as the phrase states, practice makes perfect!

For me this year has been the perfect balance. I got the opportunity to stay in Manchester for another year, as it felt like it wasn’t quite time to leave, straight into a paid job which allowed me to discover what I wanted to do and received help along the way. Of course everyone is different, but for me I have had a great year and Around Town Flats gained a great team member that was enthusiastic and hard working. 

To sum up, I certainly don’t feel like a tea-maid and would say that I have had a year well spent with a wealth of experience to rely on in those pesky job interviews to come as well as a couple of great days out with ATF – an afternoon Go-Karting certainly stands out!

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