How Linden Homes Helped A Geography Graduate Map Out His Career
05 Mar 2015

Tristan Snell grew up as many do with no real idea as to what career path to take, but it was studying geography at the University of Portsmouth that kickstarted his interest in housebuilding.

He now works as Graduate Land Buyer at the Guildford office of top five housebuilder Linden Homes, which he hopes will be the launchpad to a successful career helping to meet the UK’s urgent need for new homes.

Tristan (22), who lives in Shepperton, Surrey, said: “I was not sure what I wanted to do until the second year at university whilst specialising in human geography. It was quite a natural path from that into housebuilding.

“Linden Homes were not advertising for graduate or trainee roles but I liked what I saw of the company; they’re a national business that design homes fitting with local areas, and this was a great attraction. I was open to any help they could offer – from work experience to a full time position.”

He sent in his CV to land director Kevin MacKenzie which led to a meeting and subsequently an interview with managing director Peter Youll. Linden Homes offered him a job.

As a graduate in the land team, Tristan’s introduction gave him an in-depth insight into the processes of acquiring land before taking him across all aspects of the business: from shadowing a construction site manager at the executive Swallowhurst development in Cranleigh, right through to working alongside the number-crunchers in the finance department.

Tristan has completed his rotation and returned to the land team where he supports two senior land managers. His Monday morning begins with an early site visit to investigate the housing potential of a medium-sized site in Surrey.

The insights into the location and potential of the site will influence whether this is something to pursue. Returning to the office after stopping off to consult a couple of local estate agents about the market demand, it’s time to start the due diligence and write up a brief for the architect. This will help decide the scheme and layout.

Tristan’s role extends to helping write site acquisition reports, performing site investigations and viabilities, working with architects and the Linden Homes’ planning team to develop schemes, and meeting with local and regional agents to keep on top of upcoming opportunities.

It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since Tristan first joined Linden Homes Guildford and one of his highlights has been the success of Heath Wood, a luxury collection of homes in Felbridge, West Sussex, and a site that was among the first he worked on.

But Tristan admits: “I’m still in the learning process. It’s good to be learning on the job from two land managers and a land director with lots of experience and who do things differently because it gives me a much wider understanding of how to do things. They constantly offer me help and run through processes with me, for instance the legal issues. I’m constantly learning on the job.”

It’s the end of the day – but land deals don’t just drop onto the desk by themselves, however, and this evening Tristan is among the Linden Homes team attending an event in London to network with other property professionals to identify new development opportunities.

“If it wasn’t for Linden Homes I would probably still be trying to get into the sector,” said Tristan. “A lot of my friends went travelling after university, but my plan was always to get into work straight away.

“For people wanting to get into the property industry and looking for work experience I’d advise researching different companies thoroughly and not be afraid to contact employers directly. You need to get across that you are motivated and passionate about the company and position that you want.

“For me, it’s worked out perfectly and my career will be very much following this path. I have got about a year more of learning, throughout which I will be delegated more of my own tasks. The next step will be having my own sites to progress.”

Linden Homes Guildford managing director Peter Youll said: “We all know how hard it can be to get your foot through the door of a professional company when starting your career, so we are dedicated to opening up opportunities for new talent in the industry whenever we can.

“Tristan particularly stood out and was eager to work with us and really impressed us when we met with him, so we had no hesitation in creating a new position for him.

“He’s seen how the whole company works, and that’s crucial when you’re just starting out, even if you know the job you want to do. We’re delighted to have Tristan on board. He has a lot of skills to offer and we’re sure he’s going to have a very successful career in housebuilding.”


For further press information, contact Claire Oakley or Claire Cathersides at Remarkable Content on 01962 893893.

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