Name: Louise Houston
University course and year of graduation: BA (Hons) Land Economy, 2015
What attracted you to a career in the property industry?
I’ve always had an interest in the planning of cities and what goes into making great places that people want to visit again and again. It’s incredibly exciting to be in an industry that has the ability to influence the evolution of places, but also people’s experience. The high level of ‘tangibility’ that goes into shaping a new neighbourhood, retail street or building is something you would struggle to find in many other industries.
Why did you choose Grosvenor Britain & Ireland's Graduate Scheme?
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland is a client-side company which offers a greater chance to bring change in the built environment, compared to agency firms in the same sector. Given the small annual graduate intake, you are exposed to varied and exciting parts of the business and given dedicated support from day one.
The history and grounding of Grosvenor’s London estate was also a big draw for me. I felt that working for a business with over 300 years of experience in London would be an excellent place to start my career.
How long does the graduate scheme last?
The standard graduate scheme runs with two, consecutive 12 month placements in different teams within the business. My placements included working in Commercial Leasing across the London estate for a year and in Belgravia Asset Management for a year. Each placement taught me different aspects of the real estate industry and helped me develop new skills.
What qualifications do you work towards?
The structured two year programme culminates with you taking your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) exam, which is the professional qualification for property, construction and land surveyors. You are really well supported through this with external teaching, colleagues willing to help and study leave.
What was the best project you worked on as a graduate?
I think it has to be the creation of a 10-year plan for Elizabeth Street and the surrounding district in Belgravia. I really enjoyed the chance to imagine the future of one of our most important retail destinations and to consider what we needed to do see the district succeed as a well-known and much loved destination for retail, food and luxury service provision. I had to understand our target customer and from that decide what would make the location desirable in line with our budget. While I don’t work in that team now, I will enjoy watching how Elizabeth street evolves.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the 2019 Grosvenor Britain & Ireland graduate scheme?
I would recommend applicants reflect on the built environment around them to form an opinion of what works and what doesn’t. Are there particular things that make a place popular? The beauty of the buildings, the choice of occupiers, the quality of the public realm or maybe an energy that you just can’t describe? Having a passion in your answer to these questions is a great sign that you’re joining the right company!
How would you describe the culture at Grosvenor Britain & Ireland?
The thing that strikes me about the business is everyone’s willingness to give up their time to help others. It’s incredibly supportive and there’s lots of passion about our mission and the choices we face to achieve our goals.
Finally, what are you doing now?
After the graduate scheme, I took a permanent position in the Strategic Land business as Development Manager. I work on the creation of large new neighbourhoods outside London, including a new garden village in West Oxfordshire with over 2,000 homes. It is very different to the London estate but I’m relishing the challenge.
Applications close on 23 November 2018.