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Oct 10 2017

A word from our intern - Chris


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Once the initial relief of finishing your last exam has subsided a feeling of trepidation over the much fabled ‘next step’ is often the next emotion to take over, that was certainly the case in my final year of University.  Having studied an Ancient History degree my options were open and there was little in the way of a defined career path, at this juncture I chose to embark on a lettings internship at Around Town Flats (ATF).  In all honesty I had reserved expectations, I merely wanted to ‘dip my toe’ in to a sector of interest and gain general work experience straight out of university.   Safe to say my time at ATF has delivered far more than I bargained for in terms of both the experience gained and the sheer variety of the role, I can say with utmost confidence that choosing to apply for the role has been one of my most rewarding decisions thus far.

From day one I was given a significant level of responsibility working in the front office and having immediate exposure to clients under the watchful eye of my predecessor.  Whilst initially a daunting proposition I soon realised that this accelerated my training and helped me to feel more confident from the off.  The variety of people that I have been in contact with has provided a vast amount of experience working with people from differing backgrounds including tenants, landlords, guarantors and other agencies.  Being by nature a shy person, this did not come naturally to me however with the support of my co-workers my confidence increased and this (perhaps above all else)contributed to my success in interviews further down the line.  In addition to a large amount of on the job training, I have also been afforded the opportunity to complete a professional industry recognised qualification in Lettings and Property Management.  Throughout the year I attended training seminars and completing four exams, the content was engaging and the qualification itself has helped me immeasurably by re-enforcing my on the job experience with industry knowledge.

One of my favourite things about working for an SME (small medium enterprise) is the satisfaction gained from knowing that you are playing an important role in the business and you get to seethe immediate results of your hard work. Working for a smaller company you really get a sense of the impact your work is having which I found extremely useful in my first job out of university. Despite being the intern, I found that my opinions on a variety of matters were taken seriously.  Any suggestions I had for how to approach certain dilemmas and even ideas to improve our lettings process were at the very least test driven to see how they would work in practice.  Another positive regarding ATF in particular is that there is significant scope to diversify your role and gain experience in different areas of the business.  As an example of this, I began my internship solely as a lettings administrator and finished it working almost exclusively out of office scheduling and conducting check-out/in inventories at our properties.  The staff here at all levels are very supportive and have done their best to accommodate any requests I’ve had for broadening my role

Following the conclusion of my year with ATF I am due to start an audit graduate scheme, the experience I’ve gained with the company and the support of its staff were instrumental in helping me to secure this role.  Working in a professional environment for a year has aided me in deciding where my strengths lie and deduce which career paths will help me to utilise those skills.  That is perhaps the greatest asset of the ATF internship.  Exposure to so many different elements of the business makes it easier to determine your next step.  Despite deciding against continuing within the property sector I have had the full support of the management team and they have helped me at every point, from advice on potential job opportunities to helping refine my interview technique.  If like myself you lacked a sense of direction when approaching your graduation, or indeed have a strong interest in property I would wholly recommend the internship here at ATF.  As you can see from the words of my predecessors the internship is conducted as a bespoke training programme every year and is tailored to the individual partaking.  To echo a previous statement, the internship has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity afforded to me.

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