Lynsey Allen, group procurement assistant manager for Inland Homes, explains what it is like to have a career in housebuilding, and why more needs to be done to encourage more women to consider this industry as an exciting career opportunity.
Lynsey joined Inland Homes in 2018 and works from their head office in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Having gained a Diploma in Business and Economics at West Herts College and securing qualifications that would allow her to go to university, Lynsey decided that a student lifestyle wasn’t for her. With the support of her family, Lynsey stepped into an apprentice position which allowed her to study whilst earning a salary, and gain valuable work experience that has enabled her to move up the career ladder at Inland Homes.
26-year-old Lynsey explains: “When I was at school, the fact that the construction industry wasn’t something that was openly discussed as a career path made me want to look into it. I completed my diploma and after discussing my options with my family, going to university just wasn’t going to be for me. My parents had instilled in me a strong work ethic, my Mum worked as an architect when I was young and my Dad has worked in housebuilding his whole life. He has been a big inspiration to me and my decision to work in the construction industry. I often go home to visit my parents, it’s so lovely to be able to sit and talk to my Dad about my role, it makes us both realise how much I have learnt and it has created a mutual understanding about our jobs.”
Lynsey adds: “I do feel there is a lot more that needs to be done at an education level to get more women into the industry. It has certainly improved over recent years, but schools should be giving young girls the opportunity to learn more about housebuilding and the career opportunities available to them. There is a natural assumption that it’s all hard hats and muddy boots – in reality there are so many roles to choose, from customer care and office work to quantity surveying, labour and obviously procurement, and there are many rewards for those who work hard.”
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Explaining more about her role at Inland, Lynsey comments: “A typical day in the procurement department involves many tasks. I speak to our established suppliers on a regular basis regarding the products they supply across all our development sites. I oversee any stock issues and explore potential new products for our homes. I liaise very closely with all the internal teams – the sales team to ensure we pick the right products, the technical team to make sure that the property designs work with the products we select for the build, and from a commercial point of view, I need to take into consideration that the price point is right for us as a company, ensuring we are purchasing products that are not only competitive but are right for the development and local market.
“I am also closely involved when it comes to writing the development specifications listed within a development brochure, this is something I personally find particularly rewarding. As a housing developer we are providing people with a new home, often one of the most expensive purchases they will ever make so to be involved with selecting the products and features that go into our homes is really important. I also work closely with the pre-construction team at a very early stage of the build regarding costings for materials and supplies for the final project budget.”
Now in a management position with Inland Homes, Lynsey supports her own apprentice: “Being able to assist my own apprentice has been a highlight of my career to date. I love to manage people and pass on the knowledge and skills I have learnt from my own mentors. It is extremely satisfying and I firmly believe that with the right mind set and willpower, people can go far and excel in whatever career path they choose.”
“One of my main achievements was purchasing my own house last year, which I wouldn’t have been able to do had I chosen to go to university first. Being able to earn an income whilst studying gave me the opportunity to save enough money for a deposit for my first home. It wasn’t easy and I did have to make sacrifices, but if you are willing to persevere, and have a passion to fulfil your goals, you can do it and Inland is a company that fully supports that initiative.”
Commenting on what the future holds, Lynsey continues: “No day is the same, and I’m lucky to have such a varied role, and that is what initially attracted me. I have a job that I love, a set routine and a career that I believe I will excel in for life. Over the next few years I would like to progress and move on to being a procurement manager. At Inland Homes there is certainly room for this sector to grow, and who knows, I could potentially even get to a director level which would be amazing!”