Local government – Scott Taylor
Scott did a Politics in Action placement with the Property Services at Surrey County Council. He’s now planning to continue his studies with an MSc in Real Estate Management and to make that into his career.
Since September 2016 I have been working for Surrey County Council’s Property Services within the Asset Delivery team. The Property Services Department works within a wider body called Orbis, which is a resource merger between Surrey, East Sussex and shortly Brighton and Hove City Council’s property departments. From early on in my Politics in Action placement, I worked as part of the Asset Delivery Team. I have an array of responsibilities but my main focus is on Asset Strategy and Project Management. A lot of my work has revolved around identifying non-occupational and vacant assets and seeing how the Council can utilise these assets for the greater good of the County. One example of this is a disused Fire Station that is now being converted into a children’s centre. I then had to ensure the budget for the project was sustainably maintained, that asbestos and structural surveys are carried out, and that the conversion is done within the required time limit.
I have also worked on Customers & Communities reports whereby I have overseen updating the accounts for assets totalling in excess of £1.5 billion. In addition to office work I have done work on building sites to assist and oversee, for example, the construction of a new business centre. I have also done data collecting projects on physical sites, including former courts and adult education centres.
Working for the Council has provided me with industry experience that has enabled me to get onto an MSc Real Estate Management at the University of West England. It has also provided me with deeper knowledge on how property systems work, and with many transferable skills like data collection and input, project management, teamwork, and business strategy. In the future I hope to continue working for a local authority in Asset Delivery.
My advice for current students is to be proactive and don’t be afraid to take initiative. Employers like a student who thinks for themselves, is bold enough to express new ideas and who isn’t afraid to get stuck in. In regards to finding a placement, you need to be patient as you will often face a lot of rejection before making a breakthrough. Put yourself out there, do your research, and initiate contact with potential employers. Let rejection motivate you further rather than demotivate your efforts to finding a placement!