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A day in the life of a Estates Administrator in the United Kingdom
What I do
I provide administrative support to the Estates Team in the regional office. Estates maintains English Heritage's properties and undertakes conservation and investment projects (from masonry consolidation, bank stabilisation, to new shops etc). I work closely with the other Estates Administrator, and we swap key roles every three months to provide variety and ensure we can cover for each other. The two key roles that we swap are:
1. Compiling, printing and binding the report / pack for Territory Property Steering Group. Organising and taking minutes at the all day meeting.
2. Operating the Maintenance Helpdesk, where site staff email or phone with maintenance works requests (eg. broken taps, bulb replacements, fallen stone). Gain authorisation to send works orders to contractors, input the details onto our IT system, send the orders out, complete jobs on the system, run reports etc. Also take minutes at maintenance contract progress meetings.
We open the post, run reports from the Financial Information System, take minutes at Project Meetings on site, keep a record of Purchase Orders, type letters, photocopy, organise Safety Critical Reporting, deal with contractors looking for work etc. & we're supposed to find time for filing. It can be very busy.
Skills I use and how I developed them
MA in Heritage Management with relevant placement, volunteering in the heritage sector, work as Liaison Assistant for the Association for Industrial Archaeology.
Ability to use own initiative and work independently, as well as part of a team. Note taking skills and writing (for eg. minute taking). IT skills - this is a major part of the job - as well as helping others with IT. Attending seminars develops skills for meetings. Ability to compile reports.
Mixing with lots of different people has helped with communication skills, team work (and diplomacy), and confidence. Coordinating the formal tendering process for a son-et-lumiere show during my MA placement increased my understanding of the tendering process, which is a regular occurrence in the Estates team.
What I like most
The chance to visit English Heritage properties, and to gain insight into managing properties.
What I like least
Monotonous and mundane tasks, eg. data input, filling envelopes, and the constant phone calls when covering the 'Helpdesk'.
What would I change? I would have preferred to have found an assistant curator post, rather than an admin job.
Courses taken since graduation
Heritage Management MA
Where I hope to be in 5 years
I hope to progress into a curatorial career.
My advice to students considering work
Volunteer in your chosen career. Don't study for a postgraduate qualification if you cannot afford it. Take any work rather than being unemployed.