5 tips for Graduate success from Crest Nicholson

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Crest Nicholson is firmly established as an award winning FTSE250 listed developer with a passion for not just building homes, but creating vibrant sustainable communities in the southern half of the UK. The Company’s track record and heritage, built up over 50 years, shows a demonstrable commitment to delivering innovative, design led, residential developments and large scale, mixed use, urban regeneration solutions.

Working for Crest Nicholson not only means you can enjoy a dynamic and rewarding career, but it also provides you with an opportunity to make a genuine contribution to the quality of life for future generations. Britain urgently needs thousands of new homes and healthy, prosperous communities, and by working with us, you’ll be helping to address this need.

Crest Nicholson was one of the biggest recruiters of property graduates in 2015.

Crest Nicholson's 5 Top Tips for Graduates:

  • Above all be passionate about the House Building Industry & your discipline
  • Be flexible and adaptable – “Roll your sleeves up attitude”
  • Take ownership not to be good, but to be great in everything you do
  • Ask questions and ask again, how can you improve everything that you do?
  • Be open to honest but also offer constructive feedback – it’s the only way you will grow as a person and a professional

The graduate programme was launched in 2014 with 14 candidates, followed by a further 11 in 2015. All graduates from both intakes have stayed with the Group and progressed well in their roles. One so much so, that they bought their first piece of land whilst still on the graduate programme. 

Take my word for it – a graduate’s story

One of the 2014 intakes, Sinead Joyce describes her experience.

“The thing that I really liked is the way it is structured around a journey through all aspects of the Group’s business. In practice this meant that I spent nine months in my particular specialist area, land and planning, before moving onto an intensive three months working with the commercial, build, technical, finance and marketing departments. The final step was a return to land and planning, before starting my full time role. The initial nine months was great, because it really gave me a chance to get to know my area and the business more widely.

As well as the practical experience, my learning was supported by 14 formal workshops delivered by board members, heads of department and regional directors. These covered the main functional areas such as land acquisition, costing, build, health and safety and sales. After each workshop, we were required to demonstrate that we understood what we had seen and heard – showing a fundamental grasp of the Crest Nicholson business model.

A big plus is that we were all assigned a mentor from the executive management team. We met them quarterly and could raise any issues or questions, make suggestions for improvements and identify opportunities for further training.

During our initial induction, we were also set the seemingly strange task of having 20 experiences in 60 days. We were all a bit thrown by this, until we realised that an experience might be meeting with an apprentice, having a coffee with everyone in our department or even taking the Managing Director to lunch!

All of the graduates were divided into groups and, over the period of the programme, we were required to devise plans for a new type of house. This involved us not only working as a team, but interacting with others across the Group to fully understand the challenges and complexities of the task in hand. We recently presented our proposals back to the main Board and I am confident that some of the ideas that we have come up with will find a home in the business....no pun intended!” 

This is what some of their Graduates have had to say:

Commercial:

“I’m in my first year with Commercial and I’m finding it a fast-paced and dynamic area of the business. My main focus is on managing the finances of the build process. I feel that I have made significant savings on various trade packages through careful negotiation with suppliers and sub-contractors. These savings have helped to increase the profits for Crest Nicholson whilst ensuring we still get value for money.

I really enjoy being part of an award-winning company whose team ethic resonates throughout the business. With a strong reputation within the industry, I’m proud to be part of the Crest Nicholson brand.”

My greatest achievement “MANAGING A MULTI- MILLION POUND BUDGET TO BUILD A COLLECTION OF LUXURY HOUSES”

Philip Chambers

Technical:

“I originally joined Crest Nicholson as a Technical Graduate, though as part of the Graduate Scheme I get to experience all the other departments too. This allowed me to gain a greater understanding of how the company works and how the departments feed into one another, enabling me to better identify what will eventually be required of me in my permanent role.

I took charge of my own small project on our site in Birmingham in my first year, where I was able to put into practice all that I had learnt. This, along with working on one of our most prestigious phases at Bath Riverside, which includes a selection of townhouses worth over £1 million each, are two of my biggest achievements to date.”

My greatest achievement “TAKING ABANDONED SITES AND CREATING NEW, EXCITING COMMUNITIES AND HOMES

Chris Buxton

Development, Land & Planning:

“In Development I’ve been tasked with sourcing and appraising development opportunities whilst supporting the Development Manager, progressing forthcoming and operational projects.

My biggest achievement so far has been progressing a development opportunity from introduction to bid submission. This included presenting the site to my director, appointing architects, seeking planning advice, briefing internal departments and successfully appraising the land that satisfied Crest Nicholson’s business model.”

My greatest achievement “PROGRESSING A DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY FROM INTRODUCTION TO BID SUBMISSION”

Will Banbury

Build/Production

“A key area of adding value has been in assisting with the interplay of creating design excellence with margin optimisation. I have learnt that at Crest Nicholson the two go hand-in-hand. The exciting part of working on new sites of such magnitude is that entire new communities are being created. By ensuring the quality of new environments and architecture, a new community can stand the test of time.”

My greatest achievement “SUCCESSFULLY APPOINTED AS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, WHERE 2,000 NEW HOMES WILL BE BUILT”

Chris Huntly-Gordon

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