Case studies

What does a graduate job at Berkeley actually entail?
Meet the team and hear what our recent graduates have to say:

Henry Chadwick

My name is Henry Chadwick and I'm currently employed as a Graduate Development Manager for St William. I graduated with an Economics degree from Durham University in June 2015, prior to which I studied A-levels in maths, physics, economics, and geography.

I developed an interest in the built environment throughout sixth form - I was attracted to the opportunity to affect something that was tangible and central to everyday lives. Before my full-time employment at Berkeley, I completed work experience placements with both St James and St William. I was extremely grateful for the time my colleagues had taken to plan the placements, welcome me into the team, and explain and appraise the different aspects of the job. I was encouraged by how much investment was placed in me as a prospective employee.

Similarly, I am continually impressed by the level of times dedicated by senior colleagues to analysing my work and advising me on improvements. This is fundamental to my development within the company and something I am incredibly grateful for.

I would describe my role as that of a trainee land buyer and property developer, in which I receive hands-on experience of submitting bids for potential development sites. A typical day would involve working on a particular project or piece of work either collaboratively or individually, and there is often a small task to be completed that's delegated from a colleague in the Land team or from another department.

Within the Land department I learnt to collaborate the information of each of the Technical, Commercial, Development, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service departments to form a detailed land appraisal. I will also collate the information from a number of consultants conducting the necessary work to assist the acquisition process. This exposure to a wide range of work, and the requirement to understand the relevant technical language and processes, provides a thorough and widespread background from which to develop my career.

Having started at St William I have been very impressed with the level of attention placed upon evaluating and improving my work despite my inexperience. This is something I will consider very closely in any future employment and throughout my life.

Berkeley, Graduates, Henry Chadwick

David Simmons

My name is Dave and I work in Technical for Berkeley Homes at our Woodberry Down scheme in Manor House.

At school I enjoyed both creative subjects and more objective areas of study, and took A-levels in Fine Art, Economics, Maths, and Biology, before gaining a place at the University of Nottingham to study Architecture. When deciding what to study, I was interested in courses that had the potential to impact the space around us, as well as well as positively influence people's lives. This combined with my background in maths and art naturally led me to consider architecture as a future career.

After studying I worked for a residential practice in Oxford, which increased my interest in this sector. Like many people in the industry, my goal is to eventually design my own home, and working in the industry will give me the knowledge to do so.

Before joining Berkeley I visited a variety of developments by both Berkeley and other developers, and one of the main things that struck me was that each Berkeley development was unique to the site; the architecture was carefully considered, successfully responding to its environment. The attention to detail runs from the design itself through to the sales team, who were very knowledgeable and welcoming and took the time to talk me through the site. You could really see the value Berkeley put on creating a sense of place by investing in developing the external spaces.

No two days are the same working at Berkeley. Due to the nature of Woodberry Down's phasing, I have been exposed to both early design stage work and later on in the development as it approaches completion. In Technical you are placed at the development you're working on, so you have the opportunity to see the design take shape. You communicate with consultants and sub-contractors on a day-to-day basis to design the scheme and resolve issues if they arise.

When I joined Berkeley the team were very welcoming. There's a buddy system in place for my division, which pairs you up with an existing member of staff should you need to ask questions - this also includes a lunch for the two of you, which is a nice bonus!

The Graduate Scheme has given me a good grounding to start my career with Berkeley, firstly with getting to know people within my division, but more importantly it showed me how the cogs of the business fit together, and helped me to understand what each department does.

Berkeley, Graduates, David Simmons

Andrew Thomson

I moved to London from Scotland leaving friends and family in Aberdeen, I had no real friends or family in London so it was a big step for me personally. I went to secondary school at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, and did subjects such as maths, geography, and business management. I then went on to study quantity surveying at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

I first became interested in property in the early part of secondary school. I had a family friend who purchased and renovated an old bungalow, and I was amazed by the transformation and found the concept of adding value really interesting. This definitely pushed me in the direction of quantity surveying at university.

After graduating, I was struggling to choose between the oil and gas industry, both of which had a heavy presence in Aberdeen, as well as the construction industry. My parents were in London on a trip and stayed in a hotel beside one of Berkeley's developments, Goodman's Fields in Aldgate. They were really taken by the quality and design touches, and the sense of place that Berkeley had created. After they told me, I looked up the company and was very impressed, and by coincidence they were accepting applications for the graduate scheme.

The recruitment process was very thorough. I had to fill out an online application, visit an assessment centre, have meetings with different Berkeley Group operating companies, and finally a visit to one of the developments. At the assessment centre the questions were more to do with the industry as a whole, and it was really more of a conversation than a traditional interview. This makes you feel really relaxed and I think gets the best out of the candidate.

The Graduate Scheme is very well structured. At the start there was a two-week induction with the rest of the graduates from the other Berkeley Group operating businesses. After this you go into your division and at some point within the first few months you go out on rotation around different departments to get a feel for what they do. There is a lot of support from the company, with access to a mentor who's there as a listening ear, and to offer advice if you have any issues during your first year or so.

The most significant experience I've had with Berkeley so far has been an event that was put on for the graduates where Rob Perrins, Managing Director of the Berkeley Group, came to answer our questions. It was great to have the chance to meet somebody that high up and get their perspective on the company, politics, and the economy. It was just great to see how invested he was in the Graduate Scheme.

Berkeley, Graduates, Andrew Thomson

Mariyana Stoyanova

Having completed a BA (Hons) in Architecture and an MSc in Construction Project Management, I now work for Berkeley as a Construction Graduate at South Quay Plaza.

I've always wanted to be an architect. It was a childhood dream that lead me to study architecture at university, but during my degree I realised I was far more interested in the construction process itself, in terms of how we put things together and how we manage the process.

During my degree I found myself predominantly designing residential properties, as this was just what I found most engaging and interesting. I was fascinated by how 'personal' housebuilding was - someone's home is being designed and built, making it very challenging and interesting.

I came across the Berkeley Graduate Scheme at a careers event at London South Bank University. I was impressed by the pride and passion shown by Berkeley representatives for the brand and products they deliver. I was excited by the projects Berkeley works on - it's an innovative company that is happy to take on challenges. I found that I share very similar values, including integrity, creativity, and attention to detail.

I feel like the amount of exposure, experience, and knowledge I have gained during my short time at Berkeley so far will be undoubtedly very beneficial further down the line. The work I get involved in is so varied and provides numerous learning and development opportunities, which I believe will be essential for my career progression.

Breaking into the industry can be quite difficult when just coming out of university with limited experience, so applying for the Graduate Scheme is a brilliant opportunity. One of my biggest worries while applying was that I didn't have much experience in the industry, but I found that there was a general view that 'everyone has to start somewhere', and Berkeley were far more interested in me as a person and the transferable skills I had developed during my education and previous employment.

So if graduates are passionate about housebuilding and have impeccable attention to detail, Berkeley is a great place to work and develop. There are numerous routes to entry and such a broad variety of departments and types of work to get involved with, from Land and Planning, Finance and Sustainability, through to production disciplines such as Technical, Commercial, and Construction.

Berkeley, Graduates, Mariyana Stoyanova