Rhys Braithwaite is an Assistant Property Manager with Lifestyle Outlets, who own, develop and operate a variety or successful retail destinations and leisure operations across the UK. He is currently an apprentice studying UCEM’s Surveying Technician Diploma on the Commercial Property Management Pathway. We spoke to Rhys to find out more about why he has gone down the path of an apprenticeship and how it is helping him.
My career didn’t really start until 2017 when I took the position of Assistant Property Manager. Prior to this I first worked on site as a Car Park Attendant which was heavily customer focused. It was during this job that I got to know more about the centre and the business. I really liked what I saw and I could see that the centre was on to something special. I wanted to be a part of it, I just needed to get my foot in the door. I applied for a few jobs over the course of my employment in the car park. However, due to my limited experience and qualifications I was unsuccessful. I built up a few relationships with members of the management team and finally, one day I was offered an administrative position. From there I was given further access to the business and in turn further exposure to other members of the team. Leasing and Property were the main areas that I was fascinated in. As I carried on in my administrative position I undertook other jobs for the Property Manager. Soon after this the property manager approached me with a job offer of Assistant Property Manager with a training plan to become a Chartered Surveyor. After looking at a few routes to get me to my target UCEM was definitely the best fit.
Why did you choose to study through UCEM?
The main thing that appealed to me about UCEM was the online learning element. Doing an apprenticeship, I also get to attend monthly face-to-face workshops and meet other apprentices.
And how are you finding online learning now that you have been studying for more than a year?
I have found it a lot more relaxed than I expected. Studying online has prompted me to develop my motivational and time management skills. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) contains lots of content and activities that keep you engaged. I also find that I am asking a lot more questions and communicating a lot more with tutors than I would with traditional teaching styles. There is nothing that you can’t find on the VLE and the forums are a really good place to go as other students share their queries. Half the time a question I wanted to ask is already on there and a tutor has already answered it – so that’s really helpful. The communication to tutors via the VLE is really fluid, there is always someone to answer your query in a time of need.
Have you faced any challenges during this past year?
There was one module that I was quite worried about as I was lacking in practical experience and, therefore, was finding the theoretical side quite confusing. UCEM tutors helped me to break down the reading and my UCEM Apprenticeship Co-ordinator helped by ensuring my line manager was aware of the of the additional practical exposure that I needed at work. This, coupled with the additional time I scheduled in for the module, meant that I passed it!
Finally, what would you say to someone looking to study with UCEM?
I would definitely recommend others to study with UCEM, they cater for people of all different academic backgrounds; whether you are studying straight from school or whether you have had a break and want to return to study. Time management is key throughout this apprenticeship and, if managed correctly there will be sufficient time for work, study and social time. Ensuring that you use all the resources on the VLE is key to helping you progress in your academic and professional life.
We are running an additional intake for Surveying Technician apprentices in January. If you are an employer and would like to know more about this apprenticeship and the other ones we offer then visit our Employing an Apprentice webpage.