Our Places Build People: Helen Gelsthorpe

The places we build, live, work and play within shape our lives just as much as we shape them. In this series we shine a spotlight on GVA team members and find out about how property and places have shaped our team and their thoughts on places within the UK.


Type Perspective

Date 08/08/2018

I began my career here in the Leeds office of GVA. I undertook some work experience whilst studying geography at Leeds University, which inspired me to go on to study an RICS accredited Masters Degree. I’ve now worked in the business rates team at GVA for eight years.

I started as a graduate and have worked my way up to Associate, and one of the main highlights was passing my APC. The path to obtaining the status of Chartered Surveyor is challenging. It involves cramming everything you need to know about surveying into your head whilst maintaining your performance at work; but finally becoming qualified is extremely rewarding both personally and professionally. I’m now an APC assessor so I get to sit on the other side of the interview table. The most enjoyable aspect of GVA is the group of lovely people I work with, in particular the national Business Rates Team - they’re more like a large family than just colleagues. Most of the team have been at GVA longer than me so there’s a fantastic cohesive culture and a lot of technical knowledge and experience that is readily shared.

I am part of the Charity Committee for the Leeds office and I try to get involved in as many volunteering projects and fundraising events as possible. A couple of memorable ones have included walking the Yorkshire Dales three peaks to raise money for Candlelighters, organising a static cycling challenge for Landaid, abseiling down one of Leeds’ tallest buildings and restoring an allotment garden in Beeston for use by a local charity. Not only is supporting local causes incredibly rewarding, it’s helped me to build better relationships with my colleagues.

Advice I would give to anyone starting a career in property is that you need a genuine passion for property because there is a lot of competition for graduate placements. Undertake as much work experience as possible, go to networking events, join online forums and try to make contacts within the industry. Finally, keep an open mind as there is a huge variety of different roles within the property sector.

Locally, the Yorkshire and Humber property market is relatively buoyant with house prices continuing to rise and the Northern Powerhouse attracting new business to the city regions. The enormous talent pool and significant growth potential in the region has encouraged investors to look outside of London. Leeds in particular has continued to attract investors due to its digital connectivity and I expect that it will continue to flourish as the infrastructure improves and transport options grow. Outside of the cities, industrial property continues to be the outperformer from both an occupational and investment point of view and I think this trend is likely to continue.