With our new ‘Graduate’ programme underway, and our first graduates recruited, we follow their first week in the business. Read more from Stacey Gray and Jack Taylor below as they talk through their experience:
Our first day at Story Homes started with a bang as we were presented with the briefing for our first weeks “mission”. The purpose of which involved assessing the opportunities, constraints, market and commercials of two plots of land and making a recommendation on which to progress as a priority. Business leaders across planning, engineering and design popped in to give us some background and advice for the task in hand. Overall our first day was filled with some really great insights into the processes which Story Homes go through in selecting and building a site.
The second day at Story Homes began with a visit to the two pieces of land we would be assessing. Firstly we took a trip out to Brampton and then we ventured to Penrith. Janet Caruthers, Land Buyer, was on hand to take us through the various points for consideration when it comes to assessing a site. This allowed us to form an initial impression of each site and the opportunities and constraints it posed. The afternoon took us down a slightly different path, as we were tasked with conducting a market place review of both sites. We met with Louise McGuckin, Head of Sales, who gave us some expert insight into each market place. Following this, a phone call to a local surveyor provided some additional things for us to think about.
By day three we had began to form strong opinions around which piece of land we felt held the better opportunities. We took these viewpoints into our time with the technical department. Graham, Andrew and Adam helped us review our findings from the site visits and reach a decision around which land to progress with first. A Q&A session with Steve Errington allowed us to gain some greater insight into Story Homes as a business, which in turn helped to shape our thought process for the mission. We also delved deeper into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the two proposed pieces of land. In the afternoon we had the pleasure of Louise’s company again, where we reviewed the findings from our market place review and began to consider aspects such as house types, number of units and the values we would place on things. Catherine Cannon, Marketing Manager, joined us for the final part of the afternoon and gave us an overview of the marketing department and some advice on how we could market our chosen site. By close of business on day three we had reached a solid decision on which piece of land was our priority and had formulated a plan on how we would go about this.
By now we were fully into the swing of things and really beginning to pull the information we had gathered together. We had a meeting with quantity surveyor Martyn Lawson who gave us vital information concerning prices of everything that goes into the sites and directed our thoughts towards the importance of abnormal costs that a site may incur. Before dinner we were involved in a photo shoot coordinated by Tracy Calvert at Story House and at Crindledyke Farm to promote the graduate scheme on all forms of promotional material and social media associated with Story Homes. This was a really fun experience and opened our eyes to the PR work that is involved in the company. Finally we had time with Nick Fisher from the marketing team speak to us about possible ways that we would use digital marketing to promote the site which was useful as the internet is now most likely the first search point for someone who is looking for some information. Again today we really can’t speak highly enough about how welcoming every single member of staff is towards us and how they will always make time for us if we need them to assist us with our project. Such a positive vibe about the whole workplace.
Friday was a crucial day for us as we needed to pull all the information we had together before our presentation on Monday. Plenty of open working space around the Story House building meant that we had no problem finding somewhere to work in peace and quiet with access to all forms of technology. We felt as though today was a really busy and hectic day but we really enjoyed the challenge and constant stimulation of ideas that we had to put together. We firstly went out onto site (The Ridings) and had a site tour with the Site Manager and then a show home tour with the Sales Executive. This was a really effective way of us seeing all the things we had spoken about with the different departments all week in action on the ground. Also, it was really helpful to get the opinion of Sales Executive Sarah on what she thought would sell the best. After dinner we spent time with the Customer Service team where we discovered a part of the business which is extremely important to the day to day success of the company. Everyone was full of laughter and smiles but at the same time extremely professional in what they do. Our first week has been a whistle stop tour of the Story Homes business which we are so enthusiastic about becoming a part of because of what we have experienced this week. We have both been made to feel so welcomed by everyone and already feel like we are valued members of the company. Opportunities to join a company like this don’t come around too often so we would highly recommend that anyone who wants to become a part of it really gives it their all.