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White Brick Wall
White Brick Wall

There is so much more to the Industry than the standard roles advertised from a young age and there is something for everyone.”

My name is Eniola Olaribigbe. I am 25 years old and I have been working in the industry for 4 years . I currently work as an Assistant Development Manager for Chalkdene Developments.

Working in development helps to renew local communities by improving areas in need of  regeneration as well as working to contribute to the government’s aim of producing 300,000 new homes. We work with the local authorities and surrounding residents to ensure these developments are fit for use and approved before commencing. On a wider scale, it gives people the opportunity to become homeowners, which is personally rewarding to see!

Who is an Development Manager? Learn More on our roles page.

What made you want to become an Assistant Development Manager? Did you always know what you wanted to do?

My initial goal was to become an Architect, however during my time at university, I realized it didn’t meet my personal expectations. After university, I began to have conversations with various professionals within the industry and visited an insight day with Barratts Homes. Event’s like this opened my mind to how big the construction industry was and the different career roles available outside of architecture.

I gained a graduate role within Lovell Partnerships as a Graduate Site Manager, where I rotated around the business. I mostly enjoyed the Pre-Construction department of the company where I had the opportunity to attend project meetings, which provided me with an insight into construction project management. This was what sparked my design to become a Development Manager!

What route did you take to becoming an Assistant Development Manager?

During my A-levels, I studied Art, Maths, Sociology and Business Studies. Even though I knew at the time that I wanted to become an architect, I decided to expand my knowledge within other subject areas to understand the options outside of architecture before enrolling onto the course. I did go ahead with studying Architecture at university and completed my BA degree.
After university, I joined the graduate scheme with Lovell Partnerships, where I worked in different departments, including operations (site management), Planning, Health & Safety, Sales, Commercial and Project Management. Once I completed the graduate scheme, I was offered a role as an Assistant Pre-Construction Manager. During this role, I also began my Masters (part-time) in Real Estate Investment and Development, which was beneficial when I decided to apply for an Assistant Development Manager role and began my journey into Development Management.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

As a Development Manager, the aim is simply to oversee the projects from beginning to end. My day to day role involves speaking with consultants, partners and others involved in the project delivery to ensure information is thoroughly communicated for the progress of works. We work to ensure all documents needed for a planning submission are acquired by members of the team - both internally and externally. This also includes all matters related to Consultant Appointments, Design, Legal Agreements and Finance before appointing a contractor to complete the construction works. My role basically oversees the entire cycle of the development!


What kind of people in other professions do you get to work with within your role?

My daily role allows me to interact with a variety of individuals who are categorized into 3 main groups:

  • Partners: People we collaborate with as we deliver the project.

  • Consultants: the design team responsible for producing and coordinating the design package for each project. This includes architects, civil/structural engineers, mechanical/electrical engineers, landscape architects, acoustic consultants, fire consultants etc.

  • Contractor: The House builder who works on the construction of the development. 

  • Other stakeholders: environmental agent, local authority, TFL/Network Rail, Thames Water, UKPN etc.

"The best thing about my role is that there is always an opportunity to learn. No project is the same, so there are always new challenges and constraints to mitigate and manage. This allows me to lean on the knowledge of those experienced around me, who are always willing to assist and support when needed."

During the graduate scheme,  I worked on a 1600 unit regeneration scheme in London. My Operations rotation allowed me to physically work on-site as a Handover Manager, where I would snag the properties and interact with residents during their purchase process. It was my first time interacting with subcontractors on site, which helped me develop my interpersonal skills. This was especially the case with the site team, who were extremely helpful, as well as the residents - particularly when I did their home demonstration. It was enormously rewarding to see how excited and appreciative they were of our effort as a team. I later worked on the next phases of the same regeneration project (circa 900 units) during my Project Management rotation, which allowed me to see the establishment of the project from a development perspective. We were coordinating the works to ensure the project could start on site; this included appointing consultants, phasing plans, liaising with the Royal Borough of Greenwich etc.  Working on the project before demolition encouraged me to pursue a long-term career in Development Management.


When I tell people about my role, the feedback I get is always extremely positive. People get very excited to learn of another female breaking barriers within the Construction Industry.

At entry-level, particularly when I started in the Industry, the company I work for had a number of women. However, there’s still a void of women in Senior Management roles. From my encounters, the Industry has shown to be quite open to having women on the team wherever possible, but this seems to be the case for only certain roles and positions, which needs to change.

Do you think there is a misconception preventing young women from joining the Industry?

Yes, I do. My perception of the Construction Industry - especially on-site - was that it was going to be loud, aggressive and misogynistic, which for the most part is not true. It is a very accepting environment where the Site Team/men are always aware of the presence of women on site and amend their tone to suit. The perception is that you have to be tough to be able to work on-site and that simply isn’t true. 


Many young people also believe that working on-site is the only aspect of Construction, whilst forgetting that there is a team responsible for ensuring the project can start on site. This is the Pre-Construction team, who work in offices - an aspect that is not advertised enough! I am certain young women interested in the Industry will very much be interested when they are informed about it.

What advice would you give young women considering a career in your role?

Go for it, there is so much to learn. Understanding the Construction Industry comes from having conversations with people in the Industry. You’ll eventually learn that the reality of the Construction Industry is completely different to the stigma it may hold at present. There is so much more to the Industry than the standard roles advertised from a young age, and there is something for everyone - from Design to working on-site or Development Management. There’s also the Commercial Team, who deal with money crunching. Have conversations and attend as many networking events/insight days to educate yourselves on the options available to you.

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Apart from your day job, what are your passion projects or hobbies?

Outside of my day job, I started an interior design company called Defined Decor with a friend. It started as an area of interest for both of us and has been exciting so far. Defined Décor is a London based Interior Decorating business which offers a friendly, professional and bespoke service to clients.


From the outset, our goal has been simple; to deliver aesthetically pleasing spaces where quality speaks for itself, and to master the craft of interior decorating, whilst delivering your ideal space to you. Our dedication to seamlessly balance these goals has shaped the way we provide our services to clients.

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