Development plan pays off for PA

| Corporate | Housing | Training

Andrew Gatehouse

He was a personal assistant eight months ago; now Andrew Gatehouse is waiting to send in the diggers on his first development project – thanks to Metropolitan’s commitment to developing its colleagues.

Some want cufflinks for Christmas, others the latest smartphone; Andrew Gatehouse’s perfect gift would be approval for his first planning applications.

It would be something of a milestone for the Metropolitan development officer who was a PA – with limited development experience – just eight months ago.

Now, thanks to the encouragement of managers, support of colleagues and commitment of the housing association to training its colleagues, Andrew is close to seeing the diggers move in on his inaugural development project of 23 affordable homes in Nottinghamshire.

“We expect a planning decision from the local authority on 22 December and, if approval is given, we should be on site before the end of March,” says Andrew.

He describes the last few months as a steep learning curve. “I’ve learnt on the job about development, housing, construction, planning and health and safety,” he explains. “I’ve chaired project team meetings, collated surveys, reports and assessments – even put the tender out to contractors – none of which I’d done before. It’s been an intensive few months.”

Colleagues were generous with their guidance and Andrew drew on invaluable skills he’d gained over seven years as a personal assistant at the organisation – whether managing workloads, organising events, preparing reports or writing briefs.

One former manager had spotted Andrew’s finely-tuned project management skills – and recognised his ambition to develop his career. Rather than risk losing his talents, he encouraged Andrew to pursue some formal training.

He was given study leave to complete the PRINCE2 global accreditation in project management – a qualification that gave him confidence to apply for the development officer role when it became available earlier this year.

“I’m grateful to Metropolitan for recognising the potential in me as well as the value to the business of training and promoting employees,” says Andrew.

“I’m so glad I made the move and that the opportunity was there to do so. This is just the start of a career, which has a clear pathway to follow, that I had never even considered two years ago.”