A little over a year ago, Jodie Pope accepted a job as technical assistant for the design-led, Berkshire-based developer, Bewley Homes. Little did she expect it to be the start of an amazing journey of self-discovery and development – one which would require hard work and dedication, a willingness to learn and an aptitude to ask questions. It was a challenge which Jodie embraced.
As assistant to the technical team, Jodie found her role to be incredibly diverse – finding herself helping the team with the implementation of new developments and seeing projects through from inception when land is purchased and planning permission obtained, to fruition when the last property has been built and sold.
“No day is ever really the same” she says. “One day I could be reviewing architect’s drawings, the next I could be out on-site meeting the team to discuss the progress of build. Managing multiple jobs or projects all at once is fundamental to the role – I really enjoy this diversity and pace plus the challenge of meeting often tight deadlines.
“Initially the role was a huge learning curve. I was assisting in various projects which helped my understanding of each stage of the development process but was, at the same time, a challenge, due to my initial lack of knowledge. To succeed and overcome obstacles, I’ve had to stay incredibly focused and organised and had the gumption and confidence to ask questions or research any topics I haven’t fully understood.”
While much of this accrued knowledge is down to Jodie’s own hard work, she is keen to praise the support of the experienced Bewley Homes team members who have been there to guide and mentor her.
“Having the opportunity to work with knowledgeable individuals in a tight-knit team has been incredible and I realise how very fortunate I have been – I’m amazed at how much I have been able to learn within a relatively short period of time.”
Recently promoted to technical co-ordinator, Jodie’s hard work and dedication has paid off – she now has full responsibility for managing two dedicated Bewley Homes projects and assisting with any requirements from the commercial, sales and construction teams.
Her priorities are to liaise and co-ordinate with various consultants to produce drawings and design information for each Bewley Homes property along with site infrastructure, at the same time ensuring all designs are fully compliant with building regulations and the planning permission that has been obtained.
“The team at Bewley Homes are brilliant” she says. “From day one I have always felt supported and guided when needed, especially by senior management which I believe can be quite rare in a corporate environment. It makes my job a lot easier to manage knowing I have the advice and support of an experienced team.”
The support of Bewley Homes doesn’t stop there, as Jodie is about to embark on the next rung of her career ladder as she undertakes a part-time master’s degree in construction management at the University of Reading – an advancement which has the full backing of the developer.
“I am extremely lucky that Bewley Homes is supporting me in this endeavour and allowing me to study part time. I have a fantastic support network in the office which is crucial if I am to successfully juggle the demands of my work with the needs of my new course. I know it is going to be tough but I feel it is a sacrifice worth making for the opportunities it will afford me in the future.”
Beginning last month, the part-time course will be a great addition to Jodie’s vocational experience, offering some relevant context around project management and the construction industry as a whole
“I’ll be studying topics such as design management, international construction and innovation within construction” she says. “I’m hoping this will provide a basis for my future at Bewley Homes and ultimately the basis to form a career in senior management. I enjoy learning so this is the perfect opportunity to build upon my knowledge and increase my confidence within the role.”
Jodie’s journey is an example to other young people who have an aptitude to work hard and succeed. It is especially inspirational for young women, illustrating exactly what can be achieved in what is so often perceived as ‘a man’s world’, if you have enough determination and enthusiasm as well as the support and guidance of an organisation where the MD is a great advocate for the promotion of young talent and where career advancement is embedded in the ethos.