With a role of assistant project manager at Network Homes, one of London’s largest housing associations and WhatHouse? Housing Association of the Year 2016, 28-year-old Adewale Bakare’s career path has been an unusual one, but his crucial step was taking an apprenticeship.
Having grown up in south London, he then went to live and study in Bristol, completing a degree in Computing and Gaming at the University of West England, before moving back to the capital and living in the Stockwell Park Estate, which is managed by Network Homes’ SW9 Community Housing.
Encouraged by the organisation’s ethos of resident involvement at the core of its management model, it was then, in 2012, that Adewale took up an apprenticeship in which he was responding to resident queries and overseeing community involvement initiatives.
“As residents of the estate, we were made aware of SW9’s commitment to providing career development opportunities, so I was thrilled when Network got in touch,” he says. “My time as an apprentice allowed me to develop a set of skills that would propel me to the next step.”
His impressive performance in this role led to the offer of another at the customer service call centre, where his continuous hard work led to the position of aftercare assistant in development for a further 10 months before he took on his current role as assistant project manager.
He says: “I like to think that the housing sector chose me! I kept my options open when I came out of university and jumped at the opportunity to work in a role that would allow me to not only learn lot about a new industry but also give something back to my community. Housebuilding is really people focused and I love that about it.”
His role sees him working on a diverse mix of schemes, from a six-unit development in Hoxton to a 229-unit one in Kilburn, which accommodates Network Homes’ mix of affordable homes, open-market properties and regeneration projects. He liaises closely with consultants, contractors and wider stakeholders, ensuring the exacting standards of budget and timing are met – a range of duties and challenges that Adewale has found very exciting.
“There is quite a lot to understand in my new role and that’s something I really enjoy. Whether it be getting stuck in with building consultations, listening to the wishes of residents or liaising with local authorities, I’m always learning along the way, doing something new every week and importantly becoming more skillful at what I do. I can’t see myself doing anything else and I’m really pleased that I came across the opportunity.”
His success means the young man is keen to encourage others to have the confidence to seriously consider a career in housebuilding. “Go for it!” he says. “I never pictured myself working in the construction industry and to be honest it wasn’t something that I had ever seriously considered. I’ve only been in it for a few years now but I love it – you develop not only as a construction industry worker but also as a person. The chance to help deliver new homes and ultimately improve people’s lives is very rewarding, particularly as we expand our pipeline to help meet London’s housing needs.”