Posted: 28 Oct. 2021 5 min. read

Starting a graduate job during a pandemic

In January, colleagues from the 2019 Deloitte graduate intake wrote a thoughtful blog about how the pandemic had shaped the first year of their careers. As this year’s graduates join us, we have reflected on our colleagues’ experiences and compared them to our own. When we both started in February 2021 it felt very surreal to start our careers from our bedroom and meet our colleagues through the screen rather than in person. This took some getting used to. We participated in an array of virtual events - ice breakers, group tasks, evening socials for example a comedy show, dinners, and an inspirational talk. The virtual induction was a real success and meant we had enough information and networking opportunities which helped us feel prepared to start our job.

Following on from the induction, it was time to get to work. Our diaries were filled with multiple catch ups and project overviews. Having every team member get in touch was a fantastic way to get to know our colleagues. Hearing about the various projects that we will be involved in made us incredibly excited for the following months.

It was helpful to network and socialise with other new joiners by hosting a variety of virtual events such as quiz sessions and even holding a cook along with chefs from Italy – the latter may have caused untold destruction in the kitchen but was so worth it (see pictures below)! 

           

It was a great way to get to know the team outside of work. As it had been almost a year since the pandemic, adapting to working and socialising in a hybrid model was well underway.

There were also weekly team catch ups which provided a great opportunity for everyone to catch-up and discuss the latest television drama that they were binging or the new skills people had learned – from bee-keeping to origami.

We soon discovered that it’s not all about the day job at Deloitte. The Deloitte volunteer hub is a tool which allows us to browse and sign up to a wide range of volunteering opportunities including providing support to students at one of our 29 partner schools such as running a virtual book club. In addition, there is also the opportunity to get involved with the firm’s 12 diversity networks and even take language lessons. 

5 Million Futures is Deloitte’s social impact goal to help five million people get to where they want to be through access to education and employment by 2030. To support this initiative, we volunteered (virtually) to speak to school leavers and secondary school students about career opportunities available to them.

Prior to starting at Deloitte, it was helpful to be paired with a buddy (a recent Deloitte graduate) giving us a chance to ask any questions or for insights before joining in monthly catch ups.  Especially for technical skills and knowledge, having a buddy provided extra support when it came to asking questions and made transitioning into the working world easier - crucial during the pandemic.

As you can imagine, being a newbie comes with lots of questions that can often be daunting to schedule a call for…whilst the benefits of being in an office early in your career gives you the chance to ask the person sat next to you anything, we all had to adapt to making this through IMs! 

Deloitte’s hybrid working model, ‘Deloitte Works’, allows us to choose when, where and how we now work and we are already enjoying the benefits. The flexibility and freedom of a hybrid approach to working really supports our growth and development, and enables us to adjust between our homes, client sites and the office to explore what works best for us as individuals. For me, being in the office provides an opportunity for in-person catch ups, collaborative working with members of the team, or simply just being able to observe best practice.

We look forward to what the future holds and to keep growing and learning as we start out in our careers.

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Sophia Shakur

Sophia Shakur

Associate

Sophia is an Associate in the London Development and Assurance team within Real Assets Advisory in Financial Advisory. Sophia joined Deloitte UK in February 2021 having completed her master’s in Planning and Development, Real Estate at the University of Reading. Sophia sits within the Infrastructure and Housing team and is currently working on a mixture of commercial projects for clients both in the public sector and private sector. Through her work at Deloitte Real Assets Advisory, Sophia is currently building on her planning and development knowledge across a broad range of sectors in order to qualify as a Chartered Town Planner.

Milly McDermott

Milly McDermott

Associate

Milly joined Deloitte Real Estate London Planning team as a University of Sheffield graduate in 2020. Milly sits within the Major Projects teams and since joining, she has gained experience on a variety of projects across London including industrial and commercial developments. Additionally, she has spent time on secondment for the Department of Health and Social Care in a supply and logistics role. She is currently working towards becoming fully qualified as a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.