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People Series - Alister Hirst speaks to us about his experiences in the Real Assets Advisory Team at Deloitte

Hi Alister, please tell us a bit about yourself and your role within Occupiers & Capital Projects.

I am a Director in the team, supporting Defence and Security clients to solve their most complex real estate challenges. I’ve helped clients at all stages of their workplace transformation – including location analysis to work out where they need to be based, developing the business case required to unlock funding, defining their future operating models and workplace requirements, as well as managing delivery through to operational readiness.

It must have been quite a change coming from an engineering background into consultancy, how have you been able to utilise your previous experience in your current role?

I love to experience new things and learn new skills, and after achieving my chartership in 2015, I was ready for a change. The great thing about the O&CP team is that I wasn’t leaving the industry behind – I could use my expertise to support new and exciting clients to solve broader and more varied challenges.

Two transferrable skills spring to mind. First is an engineer’s ability to solve problems – every day is different, with new challenges for you and the team to overcome. Second is stakeholder management – each project means embedding ourselves in a new client team and a new network of stakeholders. Building these relationships is essential to success.

How are you finding being a working parent with young children? What support does Deloitte give to help strike the right balance between your career and a busy home life?

Our O&CP culture is incredibly supportive of working parents. Our project teams regularly run ‘My Manual’ sessions to discuss individual commitments, working patterns and personal preferences and agree a set of principles for how the team will work together. For me this means the team understand that I have small children, I do the nursery run on some days, and occasionally they expect to have a small toddler appear on screen to say “hello” in the school holidays!

You’ve been in the team for 7 years now - what do you find most enjoyable about working in O&CP?

One of the most important things for me is having engaging, purposeful work. O&CP helps so many fascinating organisations and I work with clients I never imagined I would, helping them solve challenges that have a visible impact on society.

The people are brilliant and at the heart of what we do. We are a team of diverse, passionate, and talented individuals who stretch, coach, and support each other to be the best we can be. I have found my career in Deloitte to be one big learning curve with exposure to a variety of real estate projects across several different clients. This breadth of experience has enabled me to focus on my strengths and the type of work and clients that I enjoy the most. Shaping my career in this way would not have been possible without so many people investing time in my development.