Job Title: Graduate Trainee (Land and Planning)
Employer: Crest Nicholson PLC
Job: Land Manager
About my job
What does your department do?
I work in the Development department which is an amalgamation of Land, Planning and Design departments. Each department liaises with each other via the Development department from the point of identifying a potential site. Together they discuss and analyse the suitability of the site, the design of the scheme and work together during the planning permission process.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am currently on the Crest Nicholson rotational Graduate Scheme. Over the past 6 months I have predominately spent my time in the Planning department and have assisted the Land Buyers in completing planning appraisals, producing reports, attending planning committees and making visits to potential sites, determining their planning viability. Part of my day-to-day role involves liaising with other departments to collect all details needed to complete Non-Material Amendments and liaising with Local Authority.
What do you like about what you do?
I enjoy taking responsibility for a project or task and in doing so establishing a rapport and relationship with numerous internal and external players. Following a project from commencement to completion is really rewarding. The variation of tasks that my role offers is really exciting. In my department it is often required to deal with queries relating to historical developments which is often challenging and requires a keen eye for detail. When you have resolved the query and come to a conclusion it is really satisfying.
Why did you choose this career?
I have been enthusiastic about property from a young age, from the point of building mansions out of Lego to watching Grand Designs or reading the local property newspaper. At school I became more interested in the markets and politics surrounding housing which encouraged me to focus my BA Geography dissertation on Housing markets and then study for my MSc. During my MSc I especially enjoyed the logic that was required for Planning, from establishing the policy documents that could determine not only the likelihood of a site achieving planning permission but what could be built on that site and fundamentally, the role planning plays in adding value to a site and determining what’s built where.
What qualifications did you need to get this job?
I don’t know if a specific degree was required but I believe my RICS accredited MSc in Planning, Design and Development from UCL definitely helped.
Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?
- Gain an accredited degree, the knowledge from this alone will help you at interview.
- In regards to planning, there are various planning committees that can be attended by the public in your Local Authority, the experience from these alone can provide a talking point at interview and provide you with invaluable knowledge of how the system works.
- Gain some experience be it a week in Local Authority or a summer scheme with a consultancy. I didn’t have any experience and reflecting back on my interview, despite being fortunate enough to receive a job offer, I think this could have really helped as it gives your degree knowledge a practical context.
- If you haven’t already done so, when possible, focus your major research project/dissertation on something that relates to the housebuilding industry. There are not many opportunities to spend 3-6 months researching a specific topic and in doing so you gain knowledge of the policy, legislation and guidance around this subject that can inform elements of your career.
- Subscribe to a publication regarding your field of interest, these provide a weekly update that is vital in this ever changing and fast moving industry.
Questions & Answers
What hobbies or interests do you have?
Running; Lacrosse; Swimming; Architecture.
What’s your favourite type of music?
All music, anything on Radio 1.
What’s your favourite film / film genre?
Drama or comedy.
Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?
Any state in the U.S.A.