A 24-year-old manager from Warmley who joined a national housebuilder as a trainee straight from school has highlighted her career progress as she urges other young people to join the industry.
Vistry's Lucy Gazzard is progressing well
Lucy Gazzard, field sales manager at Vistry Group – which includes Bovis and Linden Homes – says the variety of roles offered by housebuilders often surprises young candidates.
Lucy covers locations in Bath, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and has successfully adapted to working from home while she continues to manage her developments and offer support to sales advisors. Vistry sales centres recently reopened on an appointment-only basis with social distancing measures in place.
Lucy, who found a love for sales while still at school and chose to join Linden Homes instead of university, said: “I had a part-time retail job from the time I was doing the latter half of my A-Levels and absolutely loved working with people and interacting with customers. It didn’t take me long to get in the swing of selling and I was instantly hooked. I loved this environment.
“I had a place at university to read Business as it was always a passion and interest of mine, but it just didn’t feel right. I decided I would take a year out and deferred my place. Within a few weeks, I was passed the details of the sales manager at Linden Homes, who was recruiting for trainee sales executives. I went for an interview and got the job a week after turning 19, I was so excited!
“I spent my first six months as a trainee on a couple of sites, it was a shock. It is such an amazing job but comes with a huge responsibility. Like anything, I learnt so much on the job and after a while, I knew this was the industry for me. After six months I was no longer a trainee.”
Lucy was given responsibility for her own development – Charlton Hayes in Patchway – and due to her hard work, which included forging long-term relationships with customers, she was inspired to apply for a field sales manager role. She now manages locations in Bitton, Bath, Westbury and Salisbury.
“Charlton Hayes was a massive milestone for me,” Lucy added. “I dealt with every customer enquiry before the location had even opened, discussing plans with them before a brick was laid and building relationships over months and months to secure them the perfect Linden Homes property.
“Towards the end of my time at Charlton Hayes, the structure of the management team was changing and there were two field sales manager positions. At the age of 21, with three years’ experience in the job, I didn’t think this was something I would be considered for, but I absolutely knew I wanted to progress within this business.
“I spoke with my sales director and shared my interest in the role, while I understood if this wasn’t the right time. I went through the interview process, which was such good experience for me. I didn’t get the job at this point but was encouraged to continue working hard. This made me realise how much I really wanted it, although I knew a couple more years would serve me well.
“I continued working hard and was supported immensely by my management team. I went through a one-year development programme where I took on a trainee and trained them, shadowed site managers and got more involved in the business.
“I started to understand the different departments in more detail and to take on more responsibility on site and for the sales team. Rotas for the region were my responsibility for a while and I would also set monthly challenges for the team. I loved making this a bit of fun and it helped us all be so productive at the same time.
“I was promoted, aged 23, to field sales manager last August – I was absolutely over the moon to be asked to fill the role. I am nearly a year in and I have learnt so much. It’s been such a great journey and I have loved every minute of it. I am so proud of myself and so excited for what the future holds.
“Working from home has been different to say the least, but absolutely productive. It is definitely harder to switch off, but we have definitely got into a great routine. The team I work with are all the same in that we all have such a ‘can do’ attitude so we have been getting on really well.”
Lucy added: “I would encourage anyone to get involved with a housebuilder like Vistry. Five years ago, I had no idea that these jobs even existed and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn and grow. There is a place for all types of people in this business and that’s what I absolutely love about it.”