My first five years at Faithful+Gould

Sam Acres
In September 2019 I passed my five-year milestone with Faithful+Gould. It has been a continuous learning curve, with many exciting challenges and opportunities along the way. I joined the business as a Graduate Building Surveyor in 2014 and have since progressed to my current role as a Managing Building Surveyor, leading a team of four.

My journey into the industry began with an undergraduate building surveying degree at the University of the West of England, graduating during the financial crisis in 2010. For those lucky enough not to have experienced this period it was challenging, particularly for fresh graduates seeking professional employment opportunities, as they simply weren’t available. With that in mind I spent two years travelling and taking advantage of a working holiday visa in Australia. Upon my return I spent a year in a business to business account management role in the construction materials industry prior to joining Faithful+Gould.

I was interested in joining Faithful+Gould as I was looking for the opportunity to work for a leading global organisation and have opportunities for career progression and development. Being part of a global organisation now consisting of over 50,000 experts who are some of the best in field certainly does offer a wealth of opportunity.

Gaining Chartership

I achieved membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in June 2017 which was certainly challenging but has since opened up many further career opportunities such as successive promotions and management responsibility. Faithful+Gould provided an invaluable development scheme which aided me in working towards my professional accreditation. This included a dedicated APC supervisor, a pre-qualification process and the opportunity to draw on the experience of colleagues across the business.

Developing Management Skills

In 2018 I was lucky enough to be nominated for the Faithful+Gould Management Development Programme, this helped me further develop my managerial skillset whilst meeting some great people across Faithful+Gould at a similar stage in their careers. Part of the programme was the Management Development Centre, this session really gave me an understanding of my strengths and my development areas. The use of personality based testing has helped me understand my own personality traits which can really help with successful career planning, something which is thoroughly recommended at the earliest stage possible in your career as it really helps to focus your attention on the career path on which you are best suited.

Building Experience

Since joining Faithful+Gould I have worked on many projects across multiple sectors working with colleagues and clients across the UK.

Most recently I have been involved in the delivery of the condition data capture (CDC) programme for the Education & Skills Funding Agency, a project which consisted of surveying over 5,000 schools and further education facilities. As part of the programme I was involved in the training and auditing of the survey team, a role which saw me travelling the length of the country and afforded me the opportunity to meet colleagues from various regional offices.

Over the entirety of my time with Faithful+Gould I have been involved in work with the Royal Bank of Scotland, this has included surveying, programme management and project management roles. Most recently I have been involved in a number of office refurbishment schemes, working collaboratively with various stakeholders within the bank as well as colleagues in Faithful+Gould’s Warrington office to continually help the client achieve the desired project outcomes.

Future Aspirations

In the immediate future my aspirations are to develop and mentor the junior members of my team, to help them grow and develop within the business as I have done. From a personal perspective I’m looking to become more involved with business development and business management whilst continuing to deliver excellent projects for our clients.

Faithful+Gould is an organisation with ambitious growth targets, and I believe that from a personal perspective, so should we. With that being said, here are my three development tips for early career success:

Build your profile – Through University, graduate programmes, project and programme work, management programmes and clients we meet people within our industry on a daily basis. Even in the earliest years of our careers we can make a lasting impression on people whom may be colleagues and clients for the remainder of ours careers. Keep in the loop with your local market and industry events and attend as many as you can, you just might meet that key contact for the future. Keep in mind the ‘zipper effect’, those who are at the same level as you now are likely to raise through the ranks at a similar pace, particularly important when you consider a client’s organisation.

Have a career plan – Always have a plan, a short term plan for the next two years and also consider where you want to be in five years. Ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & timely (SMART), this could be working towards your next promotion, involvement in a particular project or completing your degree or professional qualifications. Consider what it is you need to do to reach these targets and if needs be enlist the help of a mentor, or your line manager to help you plan.

Get outside your comfort zone – Don’t rest on your laurels and continue doing what you’ve always been doing, commit to doing things you wouldn’t normally do such as chairing a client or staff meeting, presenting to a group of piers or attending an event on your own. The more we do these things the more they become the norm.

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