Aleena Paracha smiling to camera

This September, Aleena will start a graduate job in the construction and property sector after an award-winning university experience

4 min read

Across graduation, we’ll introduce you to graduates from the Class of 2023 cohort as we celebrate their achievements and give them a warm welcome to the alumni community.

In this Meet our 2023 Graduates blog, we introduce you to Aleena Paracha, BSc (Hons) Building Surveying

During her time at university, Aleena has been awarded the Outstanding Student Award 2023 by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and this hard work will be rewarded as she takes to the stage on Wednesday 26 July. Afterwards, she’s off to Thailand to relax and on her return, she’ll begin her graduate job. 

We hear her story below:

What was life like before Portsmouth?

I grew up in Camden, London and really enjoyed college life. Having failed my Maths GCSE in school, my college kindly gave me a second go and supported me when choosing my University. 

Growing up in London, I witnessed the ever-changing urban environment. This had a big impact on me and fuelled my desire to be part of the construction and property sector. I chose to study at Portsmouth because of this. At first, I initially chose Architecture for my first year but realised my skills were better suited for Building Surveying. 

It was a tough decision to change courses but not a bad one. I do not consider it a waste at all as I gained valuable skills that could be applied to Building Surveying. Whilst it hasn’t been a straight path, it has equipped me with a diverse skill set and passion for tackling challenges in the construction and property sector.

Please can you tell us more about your course and the CIOB Student Awards Competition?

My favourite module has been Professional Studies and Applied Projects where we conducted group work in a multidisciplinary manner. I gained an understanding of what it's like to work in the real industry and communicate with other professionals.

The group I worked with for this module were nominated to take part in the CIOB Student Awards Competition because we worked so well together. We competed against other universities located in the South of England.

I feel prepared to enter the industry with confidence and readiness.

Aleena Paracha, BSc (Hons) Building Surveying, 2023

During the competition, everyone attended a construction site which was being run by VolkerFitzpatrick. We identified key constraints such as the requirement to work above water and were given a task to provide a suitable solution in response to this. We were also asked to produce a programme making the project more sustainable and identify social issues and community engagement schemes. This was such a fantastic experience for all of us as we got to see what other individuals are like at our level.

My team won an award and I did individually too. I was pleasantly surprised that I had won and it has boosted my confidence before joining the industry.

I can't express enough how influential the staff at the Faculty of Technology, particularly in the surveying department, have been in providing me with a good-quality education. Not only have they delivered high-quality teaching and professional guidance, but they have also prioritised personalised experiences for every student. 

A few faculty members including Richard Wise, Stephen Neale and Amanda Thomas have been instrumental in my journey. They have been so supportive of us all. The relationships I've built with them have been invaluable and I feel prepared to enter the industry with confidence and readiness.

Portsmouth is a fantastic place to grow, develop your personality, discover who you are and excel in your career.

Aleena Paracha, BSc (Hons) Building Surveying, 2023

What are your plans after university?

The day after graduation, I am flying out to Thailand for six weeks which I am looking forward to. Here, I hope to do some swimming and diving, and some well-deserved relaxing!

Then in September, I am going to start working full-time with a consultancy that specialises in refurbishing commercial, residential and heritage properties.

A goal I am setting myself is to obtain the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Chartership. I will dedicate time to achieve this so, hopefully, one day I will be a fully-chartered Building Surveyor.

I have decided to stay in Portsmouth too! I have built a life here and cannot imagine living anywhere else - it is one of the most unique cities in the UK with the luxury of having a beach close by. There’s also a tight-knit community and culture that fosters acceptance and inclusivity. 

What advice would you offer to someone looking to study Building Surveying?

The faculty and course would not be there without the fantastic team of lecturers that make it happen. Portsmouth is a fantastic place to grow, develop your personality, discover who you are and excel in your career – all within the space of 3-4 years. It's very important to stay engaged with the content, and if you don't understand something, there's no harm in asking. 

You will be in such good hands with the staff and lecturers. It is so important to ask questions at any given opportunity, it's the way you will learn the most!