Housebuilding brings with it a plethora of diverse roles and opportunities for those considering their future career path. For ambitious Amy Savage at Linden Homes South East, she has found her experience of working in the sector an exciting one. She describes her fast-paced journey and the impressive career progression which she has seen during her time with the housebuilder.
Amy always saw herself going into property, inspired by popular culture and programmes on television as well as seeing her family’s successes in quantity surveying. She explained: “I always thought I’d go down the estate agency route or take some sort of sales role, however I undertook work experience in this field and realised it wasn’t for me.”
Amy always had a flair for numbers, which spurred her on to study Maths, Business, Physics and History at College resulting in her opting to enrol at The University of Hertfordshire to study a B.A degree in Economics. Her course included a year out in the industry which allowed her to gain a year’s worth of work experience with Galliford Try.
The placement year gained Amy a wealth of experience and allowed her to carve out her niche and perfect role: “My placement year was invaluable. To begin with I was offered a role in project management which took me out to a building site in Clapham for a few months from September to December. The conditions were quite different to anything I’d done before, especially in the cold winter months! Although I loved seeing the developments come to life, I spoke with my line manager and told them I didn’t feel that project management was for me. I then learnt about Linden Homes, Galliford Try’s housebuilding division and an opportunity to transfer in January for three months to the company’s land department. I absolutely loved it!”
Amy completed her remaining nine months in the land department and impressed the team so much with her skills that she secured herself a job as a Trainee Land Buyer with Linden Homes for when her degree course was complete. “It was so good to know I had a job to go into. I also enrolled on the company’s Graduate Development Programme which gave me a good support system starting my first ‘real’ job. I built close relationships with the eight other people doing the 2-year programme at the same time as me. We all worked in different disciplines which means I now have buddies across the business when I have questions in those other fields.”
As for education pathways, Amy feels that University was the right route to adopt. “For me, Uni was the right thing to do. I don’t think you need to go to University these days, however, moving away to University does teach you lots about yourself and gives you a confidence booster. I would say though, it’s hard to apply theory to the real working world. I did most of my learning and deciding what to do with my career, on my placement year. That was the real experience and when I came back from my placement year, I had learnt how to apply these theories to a working scenario. I went from getting 2.2 and 2.1 marks to getting a First-class honours degree!”
Amy explains that the industry is small but offers lots of promise for those looking for a secure role with impressive career progression, particularly females: “The property industry is a small world and it pays to network and build up your contacts. I have gone from Trainee Land Buyer to Land Buyer, to Land Manager in just two years, whilst doing my graduate scheme. Land isn’t typically a female career choice, but I’d encourage those considering their career options, to not rule it out!”
Although traditionally the industry is weighted towards men, that is not something that puts Amy off. She explains: “My economics course was 80-90 per cent male dominated, but that doesn’t faze me. You just have to get on with it. I think it did prepare me for the industry having less women in it, but I don’t think twice about it. We have different strengths, skillsets and approaches to bring to the job. I find we have different priorities and this makes for a good mix to ultimately reach a better solution. For instance, I tend to look into the finer details, which can sometimes make a big difference on a project we are working on.”
Since joining Linden Homes as a full-time employee in 2015, Amy has worked on a number of interesting projects across the South East of England and she says that every day is different: “I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it! In my job, you get to do a bit of everything. I am still running the numbers, which I love, but I also get to work directly with architects, construction, sales and planning specialists. There are lots of varied interactions and I really love that mix. Working in land and planning is joining at the start of each project so it’s really exciting to be a part of that journey as it kicks off.”
For those looking for a varied role, Amy recommends housebuilding and specifically land as a solid career choice. She explained: “Housebuilding has so many assets to it and my role is so diverse. Every project is different, every day offers a new challenge, but we are all in it together and that’s a great feeling.”
Amy spends 75 per cent of her time in the office and the remaining time out meeting with landowners, architects or visiting proposed sites to assess how a project could work in practice: “A typical day involves speaking with landowners and councils we have deals with, running viability checks on proposed sites, making offers on parcels of land, through to sales research and collaborating with agents to understand a local market. I get to review responses to our briefs from architects, and work on the design and layout of new sites too. It’s creative, strategic and requires a real mix of skills.”
When asked about challenges along the way, Amy admits that her biggest test has been her confidence. She explained: “Although University did give me some good grounding on how to interact with and present to people, the confidence to present to a room of board directors only really comes with experience in the work environment. My job requires real people skills to connect with different contacts, but you need the ability to negotiate and confidence to secure the deal. Straight away I was presenting in management meetings or pre-bid meetings to company directors; the only way to get over those situations is to do it and from there your confidence grows.”
Media can contact Emma Cox on email@example.com or 01962 893893 for more information, images and interviews with Linden Homes.
17 April 2018