From apprentice to assistant site manager

Charlotte Collins joined Crest Nicholson as a carpentry apprentice aged 18 in 2011 and is now an assistant site manager with the UK housebuilder.

Deciding what career to pursue, is one of the toughest decisions most us will ever make, however, from a young age Charlotte had always been interested in property development.

Charlotte’s love for property was sparked as a child when building work was being carried out on her parents’ home. The roof was being retiled and she was desperate to climb up the ladders to look at the progress.

As Charlotte says: “The idea of construction and building excited me then when I was a child and still does to this day more than ever.”


“If I had to go back I would definitely choose to do an apprenticeship all over again.

As a first step towards a career in property, Charlotte studied for a BTEC in Construction in 2010 and went to a college that offered specialist training in Roofing and Carpentry. After her first year was complete she interviewed with Crest Nicholson.

Charlotte immediately knew she wanted to work with the group and in particular its Halo development in Cambridge.

As part of her interview Charlotte met the Site Management team, allowing her to witness first-hand the time and care the team put into the build process.

Charlotte explained: “If I had to go back I would definitely choose to do an apprenticeship all over again. It’s been a fantastic learning curve; Crest Nicholson builds a variety of different types of homes giving young people who are passionate about property development, the chance to gain an understanding of the industry and broaden their skillset, all whilst being paid.

“There are a host of career prospects and opportunities.”

As an assistant site manager, strong communication skills are crucial to manage relationships, not only with the immediate teams but with the trades and suppliers Crest Nicholson work with on a daily basis. Being a good fit for the position also involves the ability to be adaptable – running with changes to a live situation, listening to others and allowing colleagues to express their opinions.

Charlotte’s day-to-day role involves a lot of project management; organizing contractors engaged on-site, keeping track of all planned work and importantly making sure all contractors understand what is expected of them and by when.

On top of this, Charlotte gets the chance to work closely with customers – keeping them updated on the construction of their home and staying true to the quality and high standards Crest Nicholson believes in.

The apprenticeship scheme provides opportunities to gain practical experience on-site with

a team of professional experts. All Crest Nicholson trade apprentices are offered a fixed term contract and graduate from the scheme with an Apprenticeship Framework at Level 2 or 3 and an NVQ.