Graduate blog: learning how to design and develop large scale housing schemes and garden cities

Sinéad Joyce joined the Crest Nicholson Graduate Programme in September 2014 after completing an undergraduate degree in Geography (BA Hons), she wanted the opportunity to develop well designed, large scale housing schemes and garden cities. We asked her to share her experiences so far…

I first became interested in Planning and Development specifically during my undergraduate studies in Geography (BA Hons). The opportunity to actively contribute to the design and development of large scale housing schemes and garden cities and villages, the value of which I had come to appreciate during my studies, drew me to Crest Nicholson Strategic Projects specifically. Their reputation within the industry, and my appreciation of a flagship scheme close to home, led me to apply for the Graduate Scheme.

My experience as a Land & Planning Graduate has provided me with a great introduction to the industry. The encouragement I have received to become actively involved in projects from the start and to network within the wider industry has provided me with an excellent basis from which to start my career. 

Within Crest Nicholson, the Strategic Projects division secures a constant pipeline of larger sites for the company – identifying, acquiring and securing planning permission for longer term developments. Within the team, my day to day roles vary greatly and I’m lucky enough to enjoy a balance of office and site-based work. This combination means I’m able to constantly learn more about active promotion of sites through the planning system and their acquisition. My job also means that I regular meet with landowners, Local Authorities and members of the public, whilst also working closely with specialist consultants from architects to archaeologists or ecologists. All in all, it’s safe to say that for me no day is the same.

At present, I am mid-way through my Graduate Rotation at Crest Nicholson which has been tailored to ensure I gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry as a whole and which further supports my pursuit of both RTPI and RICS professional accreditations. Having enjoyed active placements within both Commercial and Technical departments, I am currently working within the Build department at one of our active sites, and am thoroughly enjoying seeing our product come to fruition.

The Graduate Scheme provides a huge variety of work and challenges:  I have been encouraged to contribute to these and pursue a wide range of opportunities both within the office and out across the regions. I have found it particularly rewarding contributing to major projects for the company and specifically rewarding working within Strategic Projects, helping to bring forwards sites for the business in the longer term.

All in all, I would thoroughly recommend a graduate scheme at Crest Nicholson, and in house building more generally, to anyone.