What route did you take to get to where you are now?
I knew I wanted to study Architecture before picking my A-Levels – the traditional combination being Maths, Art & Physics but looking over the entry requirements for the universities I was interested in, I decided to play to my strongest subjects to ensure the best grades as I’d built up a good amount of work experience and summer internships in the field by that point. I went onto study BA Architecture at Newcastle University, however it was really me becoming a member of the Legacy Youth Board that facilitated my entry to the position I’m in now and undoubtedly gave me the best experience as it allowed me to see practicalities and constraints of regeneration and development.
The Reality: what does your role actually involve and how does your work affect our lives/the world around us?
Development Manager focuses on developing a scheme to secure planning and overseeing the discharge of any conditions through the course of the build. The best way I can describe Development Management is ‘it’s your job to know a little about a lot’ – the days are varied and can range from finance and economics; technical design, buildability and engineering principles, sustainability and ecology; to physical and social geography; politics and engagement. I’m currently working on Bromley by Bow Gasworks in Newham, supporting the development of landscaping and biodiversity strategies, commercial and employment spaces. I also lead our community engagement initiatives. It’s a truly incredible site with the largest remaining collection of listed Gasholders in the world so it’s very gratifying to know that you’re working on a new landmark neighbourhood.
I think my most important skill to date is communication – it’s learning to simplify complicated information to make it accessible and ensuring multiple disciplines are on the same page with the same basis of information.
My role allows me to work with Architects, landscape architects, planning consultants, ecologists, heritage consultants, community engagement consultants, engineers, geotechnical consultants, property lawyers…the list is endless. As a brownfield site with 7 listed gasholders, we also have specialists engaged.
" I love how genuinely varied my role and I’ve been especially fortunate to be able to explore my strengths within that. I’m constantly learning new things on why our physical realm looks or works in various ways and it’s a matter of constantly navigating constraints, processing that new information and applying that to something which will one day be a tangible part of peoples’ lives."
Challenges are inevitable. What are some challenges you personally face at work and how do you overcome them each time?
I have non epileptic seizures so there’s always a measure of managing my energy. The most effective way I’ve found is mapping out upcoming deadlines and prioritising my work tasks so I’m able to factor in rest breaks as needed - within that communication is again key.
What is it like to be a young woman working in your career area?
I’m fortunate to work in a well balanced office so I’m less self conscious about being a woman in my position but people beyond my profession are sometimes surprised by the sector I work in. For any young woman wanting to pursue a career in Development Management, do it! It’s an incredibly varied role that offers incredible opportunities to shape the world around you!
I love how genuinely varied my role and I’ve been especially fortunate to be able to explore my strengths within that.”
My name is Siroun Button and I’m a 26 year old Assistant Development Manager at Berkeley St James/ Berkely St William. I’ve been working in my current role for 14 months but have been participating in various schemes around the built environment for 10 years.
I fell in love with the built environment from 16 as a result of joining the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) Youth Panel in 2013. We had a walking tour along the canals with an architect and from then I knew I wanted a career in the sector – initially as an architect but following my undergraduate degree I decided I wanted to explore different roles which is how I discovered my current role.