“Nothing can stop you – you’ve just got to work hard!”

Francesca Tizzard is our Regional Head of Sales and Marketing for the South East, overseeing Places for People developments including Brooklands in Milton Keynes. Now, as she commences her RICS qualification, Francesca talks about succeeding as a woman in property.

"I’ve worked in the property industry for 25 years, starting out as an estate agent, before holding lots of exciting sales roles. I’ve seen a lot of changes in that time – both in my career and in the attitudes of businesses.

"I’m a single mum working full-time, and at Places for People, I’m part of a business which promotes a family-friendly attitude, and has a strong representation of women across the workforce.

"Thanks to the encouragement I have received in my role, I’ve now embarked on an apprenticeship through Places for People to secure a RICS qualification.

"It’s something I had always dreamed of doing, but the costs were far too prohibitive for me to justify as a single mum. I couldn’t see a way of taking it forward – that was until I found out I could enrol as an apprentice.

"I had always believed that you had to be a school leaver to be an apprentice – but it turns out I was wrong! Thanks to this route, I’m now on my way to a qualification that will give me so much more confidence and credibility in my work. I write the business cases and assess the market value of new developments for Places for People, something which forms an overall understanding of each scheme’s Gross Development Value; this qualification will add so much solidity to the work I do."

Career challenges

"While I’m content now, it hasn’t always been this way. I’ve faced many challenges in past roles, especially when my son, now 11, was younger. Despite all the great support that I received from my family, there weren’t always the opportunities available unless I was prepared to step up and show the same presenteeism as male colleagues.

"I look back to the early days of my career; I was managing a four-branch estate agency and working lots of hours to get the job done; I was having a great time and getting great results. But there weren’t as many opportunities for working mums within the sector."

New working attitudes

"Working cultures have thankfully evolved, and we are seeing more women move up the career ladder, taking on lots of opportunities they wouldn’t have done in the past – especially as employers increasingly invest in their workforce.

"I’m also fortunate enough to be able to carry out much of my work from home, with hybrid working and Teams allowing me to be present to colleagues, whilst also being around more for my son. It means I can realistically factor in my studies as well. The apprenticeship model means requires me to dedicate 20% of my working week to studying – around eight hours – and Places for People has completely embraced that.

"I’m just so pleased to have reached a milestone in my career where my employer can see the value – not just for my own career, but for the business.

"I’m a very motivated person and value the experience I have been given – this qualification will add further credence to my valuations and recommendations for the business on new developments moving forward. I’ll also get the chance to learn in new areas; the second RICS pathway I’ve opted for is law, which is a new area for me."

Inspiring others

"I’ve been able to share my enthusiasm and empower colleagues too; my sales administrator Katie has begun her estate agency apprenticeship to add to her own skills, and I’m coaching other members of my team to do the same.

"But while I’m very upbeat and positive about my own situation, I still think there could be a better representation of women in this sector – even on my RICS course there’s a much smaller percentage of women than men. I’ve been in property and construction for a long time, and I know it doesn’t have to be like this; there are opportunities open to everyone!

"I hope that by sharing my experience I can help more women shout up and achieve their dreams by seeking out the opportunities available. My advice would be to start speaking with your employer to see if they too can offer an apprenticeship or other training. Talent is king right now and good companies are investing in people as they battle to keep skilled colleagues in post – make the most of that and see if you can find a course that will upskill you and bolster your employer’s offering.

"And above all, work as hard as you can. You can achieve anything and everything, and, while you are going to come across people that maintain those age-old views on juggling motherhood and a career, your self-belief will prevail."

Our developments

At Places for People we create homes to meet your needs.

Whether it's a one-bedroom city apartment on a historic site in central Edinburgh, or a large family home in the peaceful Wiltshire countryside, we have a fantastic range of homes to choose from.

Want to know more? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

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Our developments

At Places for People we create homes to meet your needs.

Whether it's a one-bedroom city apartment on a historic site in central Edinburgh, or a large family home in the peaceful Wiltshire countryside, we have a fantastic range of homes to choose from.

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