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Meet Ollie, Graduate at Persimmon Homes

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

Hi, my name’s Ollie. I grew up in and around Swindon and like many kids across the country sport was my main passion growing up. During my time at school, I developed a keen interest in Business and Economics, which led me to pursue an Economics degree at Swansea University and later a Master’s degree in International Banking and Finance.

What is your role and how long have you been at Persimmon?

Just over two years ago I joined Persimmon Homes as part of their graduate programme. After spending a year rotating around the various departments within my operating company (Wessex) and despite enjoying all, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career within the land department. Thankfully an opportunity arose and after discussions with the management team, I was offered a full-time role as an Assistant Land Manager.

What inspired you to apply for this role / Persimmon?

I have always had a keen interest in the Housebuilding sector growing up and given the sectors’ importance to national economies across the globe it is an industry I became very familiar with during my studies in Economics and Finance at university. Therefore, the opportunity to start my career at one of the industry’s leading companies, was massively attractive to me. The rotational nature of the scheme was something that also drew me to applying. Unlike many others, it provided a unique opportunity to understand where my skills were best placed and the work I enjoyed most, before committing to a position.

What has been the single most important thing you learnt so far in your job?

I think as a graduate it is certainly being pro-active! Whilst many opportunities will come your way as a result of being on the scheme, without you actively seeking further involvement in tasks that may interest you or pushing yourself to build relationships with various team members. You will not get as much out of the scheme as you possibly could have.

What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?

In Land management there are a variety of tasks you will get involved in, which often means each day is different from the next. But some of the core tasks I undertake are; negotiating and securing deals with HA providers to take on the affordable housing provision across all the up-and-coming developments within our region, identifying suitable immediate and strategic land opportunities and putting together the resulting land bids as well as responding to various land related matters, whether that be internal or external.

What do you find most interesting with the sector you’re in?

The housing market tends to be strongly impacted by changes to economic policy, so understanding the reasoning behind strategic decisions companies like Persimmon need to undertake in response to these changes, whilst working to stringent market regulations and coming under immense amounts of external pressure is something that really interests me.

What is the culture like?

Regarding the scheme, you will find an extremely supportive culture. Programme Managers are constantly checking in to offer guidance and advice, a wider graduate community where experiences and achievements are shared and immensely accommodating operating businesses who are keen to expose you to as much as possible in order to aid your development.

How important is diversity to you and what is Persimmon doing in this space at the moment?

I think historically the housing sector in general has not been the greatest at promoting diversity. However, over the last decade and certainly since I have joined Persimmon Homes, there has been a major push within the company and the sector change this. Just to give you an example at Persimmon, a new company wide Women’s networks has been established to promote the role women play in a historically male dominated industry and this is just one of the many things that has been put in place to improve diversity at the company.

How did you find the application process?

I found the application process smooth and as stress free as an application process can be. Bright Network were especially helpful with this, they were regularly in touch to clearly set out the next stages, informing me as to what I should be expecting. The interviews and group tasks were brilliantly organised and run and unlike many of the other application processes I had done, Bright also offered advice and feedback on forthcoming and previous tasks to help you in the next stages and to highlight possible improvements you could make.

Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a role at Persimmon?

I think during the application process it is more about demonstrating your interest in the company and the role in particular. Specific knowledge can be built upon during the scheme, but that initial drive tends to stand you in good stead. Also, I think doing some research around the current economic conditions and how this is impacting the Housing Market and its supply chains, will also be prove very useful.