Graduate Experience: finding the right fit at Faithful+Gould

Lisa Yerolemides
Approaching the big 3-0 I felt lost and surprised that I had not yet found my chosen career path. Weighing up the risks of going back to university and starting a new career in construction was an easy decision and the push I needed to kick start my long-term career goals and drive to succeed.

Like many of my friends, I felt a huge amount of pressure when choosing an undergraduate degree and for it to be relevant to your entire future career.  I chose a degree in Fine Art which I enjoyed however it did not provide the technical training for a professional career. Working within different industries for eight further years post-graduation meant I struggled to find my place and niche.  I always wanted to achieve more and could not feel settled.

A few years later and approaching the age of 30, I began evaluating my career and what I wanted to achieve for myself.  After undertaking lots of research and speaking to friends in the industry, Building Surveying sounded like a great fit for me.

I gained a place on the MSc Building Surveying course part time at London South Bank University part time. This was great as it enabled me to continue to work and earn money whilst changing my career.

I found my time in employment in between degrees gave me the organisation and time management skills to put in the work required for coursework, rather than rushing it at the last minute.  I settled back in to education quickly and enjoyed finally being around people with the same passion and enthusiasm as me. Most of my classmates were also changing careers, which made me realise how common it is to return to education and change careers.

Whilst changing careers in a recession was tricky, I knew the best way to stand out for a graduate scheme was to gain as much relevant experience as possible.  I used all my annual leave within my job to undertake work experience and internships within the industry, which re-confirmed my interest in this field.  I managed to gain placements at two practices, one in Central London and one in Brighton, assisting with surveys for house purchases and design work for house extensions.

Luckily, my internship led to a long-term placement role within a firm of Approved Inspectors, undertaking work at Gatwick Airport airside for the installation of new shops and restaurants.  I later gained further experience as a Graduate Building Surveyor at a smaller property firm in London, assisting with dilapidations, party wall, condition surveys and project management work. Although both firms provided great experience, they did not offer the support I needed to gain my RICS accreditation, which I knew was the best way to succeed within the industry.

That’s when I did some research and came across Faithful+Gould. I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the Graduate Scheme as I found out they had a great reputation within the industry for both workload and APC pass rates. The training and support of the team were amazing and I happily passed my APC on the first go. Part of my role now is to help the graduates in the Building Surveying Team in London, offering training, seminars and advice to give them the same experience I had.

I currently work on interesting and exciting projects around Central London and beyond, at a range of buildings from Victorian school buildings to 1960's concrete structures and even a 19th Century fortress on the South Coast! My work has sparked a more specific interest in heritage and conservation, providing the opportunity to undertake further training and study in this field.  The range of work is great and every day is different, undertaking surveys, project management and contract administration and professional services.

I’m so pleased that I made the leap to change to a professional career in Building Surveying and haven’t looked back! Every day I learn something new and know I will continue to grow for the duration of my career.

How to apply for our Graduate Scheme

Find the right role for you by using the our Graduate Role Finder; click here to start your journey, or on Faithful+Gould’s career portal. For more details around what application process involves and some useful hints and tips click here.