Case study

Assistant development surveyor — Heather Foxen

Find out how Heather landed her dream job with a large property and regeneration company…

How did you get your job?

After graduation I applied to several graduate schemes with large consultancy firms around the UK. I was fortunate to get a graduate position within the planning and development team at Gerald Eve based in Manchester. After a very interesting year working within a consultancy I was keen to find a new challenge.

While in my final year at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) we had worked on a project with Harworth Estates and I knew it was exactly the sort of company I would like to work for, so I contacted the development manager through LinkedIn and now work for them as an assistant development surveyor.

I enjoy being so involved in particular sites and developments and needing to look at every facet of the scheme

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My degree, a four year sandwich course in Planning and Development at NTU, was directly relevant to my current job, (the site we used for our hypothetical final year project at NTU is now my main focus in my job). I use the skills I learnt at university daily.

What are your main work activities?

There isn't really a typical day, but the work I do includes constructing financial appraisals for development schemes, submitting planning applications, undertaking site visits, arranging contractors and liaising with community groups regarding our developments.

I also draft legal documents such as easements and licenses and manage budgets and monitor spending on sites.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

Since beginning at Harworth Estates my role has developed to involve different divisions and I now assist the strategic land team in identifying land owners and reviewing local plan documents.

I also work with the estates team, maintaining schedules of property information, collating legal documents following transactions and providing training to colleagues on mapping software. Plus I provide assistance to any other division as and when required.

In the short term my ambition is to pass my APC and become a chartered surveyor. Longer term, my aspirations are to become a development manager within Harworth Estates and have the opportunity to take responsibility of a site from planning stage through to sale.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy being so involved in particular sites and developments and needing to look at every facet of the scheme.

As part of my job I deal with all sorts of people, from individual residents as part of operating a residential management company, through to house builders and council officers.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

There are often so many different issues to consider on a site and it is challenging ensuring that each are prioritised properly and dealt with in a timely manner. I am always juggling lots of different issues and it can be a challenge to remain on top of everything.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Take work experience opportunities anywhere you can, don't be afraid to change career direction in the early days. Make sure you keep doors open, and always stay in touch through LinkedIn or email with anyone in the industry you meet.

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