As part of a new series, Daily Property News is getting to know the people who help to create new homes across the UK. There are a huge variety of people working together to build the next generation of dream homes, from architects and planners to bricklayers and carpenters.
This month we speak to Syd Atifeh, who secured a full-time job with BDW South West after undertaking her university placement with the company in 2016/17.
How did you get into the industry?
I did my year’s placement with BDW South West when I was at university. When I graduated, I got a place on the company’s graduate scheme. It means that I spend two months with every department within the business. On a day-to-day basis, I might be helping find appropriate places for bat boxes on a site or snagging a plot before a customer moves in, visiting a site to understand what materials they have on site or talking to customers in the sales centres. Every two months you get a total change of scenery!
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love the diversity of the role and the opportunity to learn about different departments. You pick up ‘the basics’ from all the departments, which I think offers a far more holistic understanding of the business and industry in general.
Our development days run by the learning and development team are also a great part of my job. We meet up with the other graduates from different divisions on training days around the country to develop different skills and knowledge, bounce ideas off each other about the programme….all followed by dinner and a good catch up!
What challenges do you encounter in your role?
Starting in a new department every two months can be quite daunting. Not only are you leaving a team that you have probably integrated into by this point, but also you feel like you’re starting a completely new job when you join your next department.
That said, I know that it’s of real benefit to me in the long-term. I’ll have a much more well-rounded knowledge of the business having worked in different departments.
What advice would you give somebody starting their career in the construction industry?
There are so many different routes into the construction industry, whether that be via a graduate or undergraduate scheme, apprenticeship or specific programmes like Barratt’s Armed Forces Programme and the Sponsored Commercial Degree Programme.
Although you might want to get started with your new role in the company as soon as possible, my best advice would be to make the most out of your induction time and use the opportunity to ask lots of questions and network with different teams in the business so it’s easier to approach different teams in the future.
What job did you want to do as a child?
It’s probably a 50/50 split between owning my own dog-sitting business or renovating houses, we used to watch a lot of Grand Designs in our house!
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I’ve recently moved to the centre of Bristol. It’s such a fab city so I spend most of my spare time meeting up with friends in the city or walking at the beach (I’m currently training for a 50km walk over the Brecon Beacons to raise money for the RBLI, the graduate charity of the year).