Trainee Relocation Advice
Packing the essentials, saying your goodbyes and heading off to your first (or next) secondment isn’t an easy task, but this article aims to reduce what may seem in the beginning to be an uphill struggle, to more of a small bump in the road.
The MDS scheme is a challenge- but it won’t be able to test you from the comfort of your own home. If you were able to choose your secondment, it would be a similar scenario; to have the opportunity to go against the grain, try new things, explore new places and test yourself- is what being a trainee is all about.
Finding the right accommodation can feel like searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, so to help you along, the following guide has been created for your use.
There are a few options on the market that have suited trainees in the past, the most popular being spare rooms, flats and HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation). It is up to you to decide whether your preference involves living by yourself or with others. Moving into a house with unfamiliar faces can be a bit daunting, but websites like spareroom.com have your back, encouraging the host to provide a summary of the other occupants to help you navigate the labyrinth of live-in landlords, single/ mixed gender household and professional tenants are just a small handful of the filters you can apply. On top of this, the very same website vets every ad with your safety in mind.
To summarise the things to look out for in your ideal home-from-home, here is a non-exhaustive list to satisfy the needs of an MDS trainee:
- What is your budget?
- Are bills included?
- Is a deposit required?
- Is the property furnished?
- Is Wi-Fi included?
- Would the £500 relocation allowance be useful? (Ask MDS for this)
- What is the contract type? (For example, some properties are only available to rent during weekdays.)
- Town vs. Country- There are more things to do in a town, but it may be noisier, and parking might be an issue.
- Cost of living- Town life may have more opportunities, but it may be more expensive too
- Commute opportunities- Look at potential bus or train routes, especially if you don’t live on-site, just in case of car issues.
- Amenities- Is there a supermarket nearby?
- Activities- Is there a local gym? Pub? Think of things relating to your hobbies or pastimes you enjoy
- Spare Room website– This is a highly recommended website, it is easy to create an account, host information is easily accessible, and there is a focus on safety.
- Google- Researching your local area through the search engine/ maps will give you a feel for the local area. It may not narrow your search down if you do not know it well, but it will give you a helping hand. However, be mindful of the accommodation websites it may lead you to as they may not be as vetted as Spare Room.
- Friends/ family/ fellow trainees- Often an overlooked factor, reach out to your relatives or friends who are from the local area. If they can’t provide accommodation, perhaps they know someone who does; remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
- Rightmove- Another powerful tool, however, bear the contract length in mind- most rentals available here will be for a year- but this is useful if you are venturing into a 12-month secondment.
- Facebook- Simply searching ‘accommodation in x’ or related terms will give you some ideas, try accessing particular pages/ groups.
- Two-Generations Homeshare / HomeshareUK websites- At first glance, the prospect of supporting an individual in need and living under their roof may not be what you are after. Still, if you can offer companionship and dedicate some of your time to carrying out certain chores in exchange for a rent much lower than other market alternatives, maybe it’s worth a try.
- Lowicks co. (Instagram- London only)- A page formed to help Londoners find short-term accommodation, built on the premise of trust (you must know at least 2 people that follow the page to be accepted).
- Ask your member company- Their current employees may have some ideas, or even a spare room for you to use, even if it is temporary, to give you the opportunity to look for alternatives. Take the secondment introduction as an opportunity to ask.
The Trainee Network
- Is there anyone currently in the role you are about to move to? They may be able to give you some advice. Try members of your group to see if they can come up with some ideas. Remember, you’re all in the same boat.
- Accommodation register- A valuable resource for changeover, which utilises the experiences of previous trainees, containing accommodation information and contact details for each host. Trainees are encouraged to add to this spreadsheet with each changeover- who knows, you could make a real difference to someone else’s secondment. This is accessible on Sharepoint.
- When looking for short-term lodgings, look for ‘length of stay’ so you don’t pay more than you need.
- It is your responsibility to find accommodation. People Development will do what they can to help you out, but will not hold your hand through the process.
- Some hosts do not want a lodger who works from home.
- DO NOT sign any contract which is greater than the length of your secondment.
- Be mindful of moving in with total strangers, and do as much research as possible before committing yourself. We recommend visiting the property. At the very least, call the owner. Speaking with them will help you make a more informed decision.
- Finally, don’t leave it to the last minute! Ensure you arrive at your accommodation with enough time before starting your secondment.