After three years at university, a 13-month placement and a hard-earned 2:1, I wanted to kick-start my career by jumping out of my comfort zone! Getting my degree certificate and entering the big wide world felt both exciting and daunting. Some of my peers were going travelling and some were accepting jobs in London, and I wondered if I could combine the adventure of a new culture and country while working towards my APC.
I researched international graduate programmes and applied to Faithful+Gould in the Middle East. I flew to Dubai for my interview (sometimes these are in the UK and sometimes can be done via Skype) and received an offer a few weeks later.
I was faced with an exciting decision: a job offer in London or the Dubai offer with Faithful+Gould. A mentor had always said to me ‘be international’, so with no financial ties apart from my student loan, and the desire to try something different, I thought to myself ‘when will there a better time in my career to make the jump?’ With the decision made, the rest was easy! The process of getting my visa, organising accommodation, booking my flights and being picked up from the airport was handled by HR. Without this help, the move would probably have been a lot more stressful.
There’s the obvious great weather all year round, tax-free salary, the incredible lifestyle and choosing whether to go sky diving, skiing, dune bashing or scuba diving at the weekend!
Putting the activities and social scene aside, working in a multicultural environment on projects of an impressive scale is a golden opportunity for self-development and enhancing your CV. The construction market in Dubai is booming, and with the 2020 World Expo being held here, there’s a surge in large-scale interesting projects. I’m working on some really interesting projects – typically you get exposure to bigger projects here. At the moment I’m working on an Atkins office refurbishment, a community mall for a major retail developer, and a key residential development on the Palm Jumeirah.
There are two graduates currently on the programme at Faithful+Gould in the Middle East at the moment, and we’re both quantity surveyors. However we’re also part of the wider Atkins multi-disciplinary graduate cohort of 20. There is a great graduate community with regular social events planned throughout the year. We also have a ‘graduate hub’ where we can share ideas and innovate. Getting chartered is really important for me. Initially I was concerned about working towards my APC in Dubai, but I soon learned that it’s an almost identical process to the UK. In fact, Faithful+Gould became the first RICS regulated company in the Middle East, so I’m continuing my learning and training in a varied professional environment.
I was faced with an exciting decision: a job offer in London or the Dubai offer with Faithful+Gould.
The support we receive for the APC couldn’t be better. I participate in regular meetings, ensuring I get the necessary experience and I will be able to attend CPD events around the Middle East. I’ll also have APC meetings every couple of months, where my mentor and line manager will discuss my progress with me, to see how this meets the RICS competencies required. I’ll get the appropriate exposure to projects that will enhance my learning.
Two months later
So two months after moving to Dubai, where I didn’t know anybody, I’ve made new friends and I am really enjoying my job. There is a huge expat community here, so it is very easy to meet people. I’ve now moved out of company accommodation and renting a flat near the Marina, right next to the beach, with a colleague - enjoying the ex-pat dream of year-round sunshine! I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and can’t believe how quickly my life has changed. I’d really recommend this exciting move to any motivated young construction professional.