Our latest exclusive interview with a senior housebuilding executive is with Scott Stothard, who took the role of managing director at Linden Homes’ West Yorkshire division last year and talks to us about his career to date and key points about starting and progressing in the UK housebuilding industry.
Hi Scott, please tell us a little about yourself, your current role and what it involves.
As managing director of Linden Homes‘ West Yorkshire division, my key responsibilities are overseeing operations across the board and developing the team to continue to meet targets and achieve great results. One of my ambitions for my recently appointed role is to implement more streamlined efficiencies and processes as well as increasing Linden Homes’ presence across the entirety of Yorkshire.
What is the education/career path that has brought you here?
My career in the industry stems from humble beginnings. 22 years ago I joined the sector as an apprentice bricklayer – I always knew I wanted to be in the housebuilding industry and was intrigued by the many practices and skills within it. From my time as an apprentice, I managed to work my way up and rise through the ranks; in that time, I have worked in quantity surveying, project management, as well as contract and production management before taking over my current managerial division role with Linden Homes. It’s been a real journey for me personally and professionally and I have relished in working within so many of the different components that make up the industry.
What is it about the housebuilding industry that appeals to you?
The housebuilding industry is one within which young people can see a clear path for their own career progression and development. It’s a dynamic industry and one that will always be in high demand – both from consumers and those looking to join the workforce. For me, the housebuilding sector offers a unique opportunity to be a part of an industry which is forever changing and developing with the need to keep up with trends.
Are there mentors and/or projects that have been especially inspiring?
I’ve had the unique opportunity throughout my career to work on many different projects and meet many inspiring people on the way. As an apprentice, I received a wholesome introduction to the industry and was lucky enough to be guided by expert mentors who provided me with a real head-start onto my career path. Starting out as an apprentice allowed me to see the fundamental importance in driving opportunities for young people – because, as I am living proof, they will one day be the future of the business!
Have things changed in recent years in the industry re job opportunities, recruitment, training and career development in the industry?
Increasingly over recent years, housebuilders are doing more and more to encourage young people into the industry and guide them up the ladder once they arrive. Linden Homes is a prime example of this, as the business has just signed up to the Home Building Skills Pledge, a set of actions developed by the Home Builders Federation to help recruit and train more people in the industry. Initiatives such as this, which are being adopted nationwide by housebuilders, are guiding the industry forwards in helping to encourage the next generation of talent into the sector, and tackling the skills shortage head on. These are fundamental developments that have made a real positive impact on the employment aspect of the sector over recent years.
Linden Homes has also recently launched a fresh approach to embracing and nurturing the next generation of talent with our Trainee Programme. With this programme a case-by-case approach to all of our trainees is taken, to ensure they are provided the right guidance and balance of education and on-the-job experience, to kick-start what will hopefully be a long and prosperous career for them in the sector.
What qualities and qualifications do you look for in potential employees?
For me, good communication is absolutely key in all potential employees, no matter which field of the business they are working in. A willingness to learn and try things out of their comfort zone are key attributes that I look for in staff – it is my belief that these can take you just as far as any qualification can. It goes without saying that we look for potential employees that share the Linden Homes mantra – of providing great quality homes and equally great quality service throughout the customer journey.
Why should potential employees consider the housebuilding industry, and Linden Homes in particular?
I think the diversity of the housebuilding industry is a real draw, with no day being the same. There is also great opportunity to grow skill sets and climb the career ladder with so many different careers paths to offer. Linden Homes in particular has made a real commitment over recent years to encourage future talent. Not only have we signed up to the HBF Home Building Skills Pledge, we have also invested in our internal trainee programme, whereby emerging staff members are exposed to many different units of the business and also supported on relevant qualifications alongside. This hands-on approach to developing and nurturing junior team members allows them to build on their skills within the industry with a solid foundation of qualifications beneath.
I would like to think of myself as a success story of sorts, as to how the housebuilding industry can provide a career with real longevity and an abundance of opportunity.