Embarking on a career in the housing/property industry can be both challenging and rewarding. To understand more about this sector and the career opportunities, we spoke with Jake Jackson at Bidwells, who has just won the PropertyMark Rising Star of the Year Award, and Nabiel Din at Barbon Insurance Group, who was recently featured in their company magazine. Jake completed the Level 3 Housing and Property Management Apprenticeship with The Apprentice Academy in 2022 and Nabiel is due to complete his Apprenticeship in 2024.
A Career in Property Management – How to get started?
Nabiel’s property management experience started in 2006, when he applied for a full-time role working for Halifax Estate Agents. ‘This was my first taste of working in Property where I was involved in all aspects of a corporate Estate Agent.’
In contrast, Jake entered the sector via the apprenticeship route. He said ‘I had absolutely no property experience before joining Bidwells, I never went to university, so was looking for a position where I could earn and learn at the same time…I have always had an interest in property, so when I saw an Apprenticeship position advertised during lockdown, I jumped at the chance.’
A Lot to Learn in Property Management
As with any industry or sector there are many roles and specialisms and property management is no exception. Some of the job roles include Property Manager, Housing Manager, Assets Manager, Income Manager, Leasehold Manager, Lettings Officer, Housing Officer, Neighbourhood Advisors and Negotiators, with multiple levels of seniority in between.
Jake started his career aged 21 by applying for a role as an Apprentice Property Manager and has progressed multiple times since then with the same business. ‘The apprentice position I applied for gave me a real insight into the work involved when managing a property. As part of the apprenticeship, I was given one day per week to study, with the other four days spent working on the job learning all the elements.
After completing the Apprenticeship, I applied for a position as an Assistant Lettings Negotiator and was fortunate enough to be successful. This was a marketing-based role and involved producing brochures and booking viewings. I also shadowed Negotiator colleagues and learnt how to value rental properties.
Twelve months later I was promoted to a Lettings Negotiator, and now my role involves conducting valuations, working with new developments around the Cambridge area, dealing with applications, drawing up contracts, negotiating the rent, length of tenancy and any other aspects of new tenancies with landlords and applicants. I am now responsible for bringing in new business and letting high-value properties, with some deals exceeding £6,000 per calendar month.’
‘I saw the apprenticeship as a great opportunity to prove myself, and from day one I decided I would aim for a distinction, and I did it! Achieving this grade showed that my hard work and dedication paid off, and the project work I did helped me to improve our property services.
Jake clearly has the motivation and tenacity to progress in his career which has been recognised, not only by his employer, but PropertyMark too! In December 2023 he won The Rising Star of the Year Award at the PropertyMark Qualification Awards.
Nabiel started his property management journey in 2006 and has been working at Barbon Insurance Group for the last six and a half years. He started in the business development team, in a field-based role promoting the HomeLet brand. Now he delivers Webinar training across the brands and is responsible for the Letting Agent Training material library, and working with all teams to ensure they are on board with the latest tech strategies. Some of the technology projects he is working on include a new platform to help drive efficiency and compliance for letting agents, a customer journey which supports income generation, and protecting partner agents using the latest in fraud detection technology.
Apprenticeships Support Upskilling and Accreditation for All Employees
Nabiel commenced his Apprenticeship in 2022 aged 49 and was asked to appear in the corporate internal staff magazine to share his experience of the Level 3 Property Management Apprenticeship. Since then, he has been approached by colleagues and other departments who have asked him about the development programme and how it has helped him.
‘I try to upskill my knowledge where possible and with this apprenticeship I have continued to develop across a varied range of subjects. Having this additional knowledge (new and consolidated) and being able to apply this at work has been very beneficial because I am more confident tackling questions with our customers, and stakeholders. Being involved with several projects at work, I have always been curious to understand how projects are managed from start to finish, and with this apprenticeship I have had an opportunity to manage my own project, which has certainly been eye-opening! Especially when it involved change! The professional discussions with my mentor have also allowed me to take a step back and reflect on my career and appreciate the differences I have made. Normally you wouldn’t think about this because in that moment you were just doing your job! And outside of work, I find myself looking at housing/properties in a different way! I am now more aware of the history of housing and the apprenticeship has helped me to continue being a role model to my four children who are impressed that I am once again studying after all these years!’
New Industry Regulations Propose Mandatory Qualifications For Property Managers
Mandatory qualifications have recently been proposed for all property professionals who work with tenants to gain a minimum level 3 qualification to practice and a minimum level 4 for individuals who work with social tenants.
We asked Nabiel and Jake their thoughts on these new proposals for mandatory qualifications.
Nabiel said ‘With the recent tragedies in property like Grenfell Tower, I personally believe that this change is needed in the industry to protect residents, so I see this as a key step ‘forward.’ My initial thoughts are that it will simply raise standards which can only be a good thing, and it should hopefully align the housing industry more closely with other sectors providing similar/front line services.’
Jake said ‘I wholeheartedly think this is a great idea. There is unfortunately a stigma in the industry of agents being untrustworthy or deceptive, but having a qualification offered by an industry regulator expresses your commitment to deal with customers fairly and professionally.’
How to Get Qualified? Commercial Route Versus Apprenticeships!
Property professionals throughout England can gain the qualifications they need via the apprenticeship or commercial route, but which option is best? Commercial qualifications can be done in a shorter period, cost more but do require learners to be more self-motivated and disciplined with their learning and pass exams. Apprenticeships take longer circa 15 months but are considered a more robust way to learn knowledge and skills because individuals must apply what they learn and demonstrate full understanding of each topic. Apprenticeships also come with coach and mentor support providing one to one guidance and support from the beginning to the end of the programme. Another plus is that learners can gain MARLA status without having to sit and pass any exams! We asked Nabiel and Jake if they would recommend the apprenticeship route to other people considering their options.
Nabiel said ‘I’ll keep this response short and sweet…Absolutely!’
Jake said ‘I would highly recommend doing an Apprenticeship. My coach was always on hand to help, offered a great service and was always enthusiastic. This made it much easier to study and work on my project, which in turn set me up with a strong foundation for my career. I was also the first apprentice in our Residential Division, and having seen the benefit of the course, the company are making strides towards increasing the number of apprentices throughout the firm. Certainly, a great route into the industry!’
As the industry undergoes regulation change, Nabiel and Jakes experiences provide valuable insights for aspiring property professionals who are looking to enter the profession and gain recognised qualifications.
We would like to thank Nabiel and Jake for taking the time and generously sharing their backgrounds, experiences, and insights with us.
For more information on the Level 3 and level 4 Property Management Apprenticeships click here: https://theapprenticeacademy.co.uk/apprenticeships/housing-property-management/