Chey Anne Aldridge

Before you came to Brookes what did you study and where?

A-Levels- King Alfred’s 6th Form (History, Business Studies and Geography)

What made you choose Brookes as a place to study?

I chose Brookes because of the small class size and the compulsory work placement, which to me put it above all other universities. I also chose Brookes because of the history of Oxford in general and the surrounding Architecture. The course is also accredited by the RICS and CIOB so it gears you up for an easier transition when you do your training for qualification after graduating.

What do/did you think of the course while studying here?

The course is very hard work but I really enjoy it because of the mix of classroom work and practical work, including setting out and building a wall. The coursework is also a challenge and much of it is in groups, the structure of the work is very much like real life.

What are the best bits of studying at Brookes?

Brookes has so much going on all the time. There is a lot of construction work going on site at the moment and it good to see things happen, all you have to do is look out the window. There are vast resources within the library and online. Many of the tutors have first hand experience and will answer any questions you have going out their way to do so. The practical parts are a nice way of getting out of the classroom and getting some hands on experience. As we are such a small class we are able to do this unlike other universities that I visited. The course also demonstrates what to expect from sub-contractors by learning about their trade and how things should be done, as a project manager this is important.

What advice do you have for others?

If you are going to do this course then be prepared to work hard, the course is nothing compared to the demands of the actual job! Get organised and have a diary and set yourself targets, this is again in preparation for real life but it also means that you will get your work done, there is lots of it!

What are your plans for when you've completed your course, for work or further study?

When I have completed studying I would like to go back to the company that I am doing my placement with. If not then I know that my placement experience will be invaluable to finding employment elsewhere. I hope to work in client project management.

Work placement:

Company name:

Grosvenor Britain and Ireland

What do you think of the industrial placement aspect of your course?

It's the most beneficial part. Not only in helping you to remember what you have learnt over a longer term but to apply what you have learnt. It also confirmed that it is what I wanted to do. It gives a nice break from the traditional way of University learning and gives you a great chance to excel. When you go back to University, your dissertation can be based on something real that you have knowledge of and some thing that is of interest to you. When you graduate, having work experience is also a benefit when applying for jobs.

Project description

Project 1

The renovation and conversion of a Grade II* period property of eight terraced buildings that comprises of a basement, ground floor and 5 upper floors into 15 apartments. Grosvenor took on this building after the original developers went into administration.

Project 2

The redevelopment of an empty building into a high quality Boutique Hotel, previously Avis Car garage. It will comprise of a basement, sub basement and 5 above ground floors.

Student's responsibility on team

Assistant Project Manager

Experience gained

I am working on 2 large projects, an exclusive residential refurbishment, nearing completion and a hotel that that is in the early stages (RIVO stage E) package procurement is underway and demolition has began. During April and May I will be working on site for 2 weeks doing an engineering sort of role and doing things such as setting out in preparation for the piling. I am also monitoring the costs of the project through cash flows and forecasting. I attend council, bank, procurement, interior, site, progress, O&M, client, FF&E, OS&E, cost monitoring, business plan, quality meetings and internal meetings on a regular basis and am regularly on site.

As part of the team ethics there are regular department updates, usually held at someone else's site so that we can see what others are doing. At these meetings we discuss the progress on a particular site and the things that are going to slow the project down. We then discuss together how this can be resolved and if there is anyone else with a particular experience of this issue, or how we could collectively help to resolve it.

Training received

I was able to start my APC through the RICS. It is hard work on top of my normal working day, I figured that when I have graduated I'm going to be even busier so best to start it now. It involves going to CPD lectures before and after work some days but the majority is covered in your day to day working. It is a daily task updating my diary and filling in my training log. I am lucky that the company has lots of in house training sessions, many of which count towards my APC.