What does being part of a Graduate Programme for a house builder really entail?

Charlene Goudkuil joined the Crest Nicholson Graduate Programme in September 2014 and is currently half way through her rotation of the business. At the moment she’s working within the Land and Planning department and while she's there we thought we’d fire her a few questions to share just what her experience has been like so far.

Charlene, tell us what your average day/week/month is like…

Since joining the Crest Nicholson graduate scheme the work I have undertaken has varied greatly, so it is quite difficult to summarise what a conventional day looks like. I am based in the London office within the Land and Planning team. Typically this role involves regularly appraising new land opportunities, assisting with the progression of live projects and the smooth delivery of planning conditions and S.106 applications (legal agreements between Local Authorities and Crest Nicholson).

I was fortunate enough to receive an insight into the other departments at Crest Nicholson during my second year rotations (Land, Technical, Commercial, Build, Sales and Finance). This opportunity has provided me with a greater understanding of all aspects of the business and the challenges each department face which has enabled me to work more efficiently with them. This was an invaluable experience.

What attracted you to the industry in the first place?

Since leaving school I have always had an interest in property. Having completed my BSc (Hons) in Real Estate Management at Oxford Brookes University, I knew I wanted to move into development which I always saw as an industry where there's an opportunity to create new homes and communities.

I then decided I wanted to work in London as it's an exciting city to work in property-wise; there are 33 boroughs each with their own planning challenges which mean that no two sites are the same. The London land market is also fiercely competitive, so it is important to consider every potential opportunity to gain a competitive advantage without compromising quality.

Development requires regular communication with people both internally and externally from Crest Nicholson. It is very much a team based role where it is essential to be able to work alongside a wide range of people with varied skills.

What do you enjoy most about your job and the industry?

I enjoy scouting new land opportunities; this role is challenging but it is the best aspect of my job. Appraising land requires me to liaise with the other departments within the office such as Sales, Commercial, Technical, Finance and Build, By doing so I'm able to provide a realistic business proposal before delivering the opportunity alongside my Land Director to the Managing Director for further discussions and negotiations with the land owner.

It is exciting to be involved with a scheme from project conception to completion; taking it from purchase right through to sales.

At Crest Nicholson we have direct access with Directors at all levels of the business, both at Head Office and up to main board level, which is great as it gives you a real sense of responsibility for the projects that you are asked to deliver.


As one of Britain’s top house builders Crest Nicholson prides itself in offering a highly competitive Graduate Programme. Taking on 10 university graduates every year they aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the industry by offering a two year learning and development programme where the individual experiences every discipline within the business, including; Land Acquisition, Planning, Design and Development through to Production and Sales and Marketing. To find out more, please go to: https://www.crestnicholson.com/about-us/careers/graduate-programme