Do you remember receiving your exam results? And that nerve-wracking feeling that these results could determine your future success and career pathway for the rest of your life?
Today will see students across Scotland receive their exam results and thousands of young people will most likely be going through that same experience.
At Cala, we are supporting the #NoWrongPath campaign, which aims to provide reassurance to young people that there is no such thing as a ‘right path’, and especially in housebuilding. There are many routes and pathways to a fulfilling and rewarding career, in a surprisingly dynamic and forward-thinking industry.
We asked Cala colleagues to share their own experiences of every twist, detour, and unexpected turn in their own journey that led them to their current role. From apprenticeships, graduate schemes, to changing degrees and job roles, our teams show that each step in everybody’s own unique journey is an essential component of personal growth and that there is #NoWrongPath.
Craig Lynes - Managing Director, Cala East
Craig Lynes has been part of the Cala business for more than 25 years, building his career from a school-leaver to the Board of Directors, however that wasn’t always the plan.
Now Managing Director for the East of Scotland business, Craig very nearly joined Dunfermline Football Club to play fulltime before he was offered a Graduate Apprenticeship with Cala Homes (East).
Craig believes he made the right decision by joining Cala and taking on a five-year quantity surveying degree at Edinburgh Napier University. He said: “As a young person, my passion was football, but even then, I was more focused on beginning a lifelong career and that’s certainly what I found with Cala. I have never looked back; in fact, I gained a full-time career, and I could still play football part time.”
Craig’s career at Cala progressed swiftly from Assistant Surveyor through to Surveyor Manager before graduating in 2004. It was then in 2006 that he joined the land team, and discovered a new passion.
He continued: “I felt that moving to the land department was a brilliant opportunity, not only was it a different role, but there was also a commercial element to this new title, allowing me to learn more about the wider business which has benefitted me throughout my career.
“Cala’s approach to leadership has always been consistent and they have always invested in their people who have that drive and ambition and are keen to progress. As part of my progression, they have certainly invested in me, and I am really keen to ensure everyone in my team feels the same way.”
Craig joined the Board of Directors in 2009 as Land Director and was appointed Managing Director in 2020.
Kirsty Edwards - Technical Administrator, Cala West
Determined to build a career in the housebuilding and construction industry, Kirsty Edwards gained a broad range of experience with developers, before undertaking a graduate apprenticeship with Cala Homes (West).
Undertaking the Construction and Built Environment Graduate Apprenticeship unlocked plenty of opportunities for Kirsty whilst it provided her with the framework and flexibility she needed to create a work life balance.
Kirsty said: “I knew I wanted to do something different but wasn't entirely sure what it was I was interested in within the industry, so my course gave me a wide range of choices. It could only benefit me and my daughters by progressing to a more senior role in my career and it allowed me to show her than no matter what age you are, you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Now Technical Administrator with Cala, Kirsty aims to climb the ladder to a more senior role upon completion of her degree.
Karl Petre - Head of Health Safety and Environment, Cala Group
“My journey through school education was not really an academically focused one, with much of my school time spent on the social side rather than in books or study. I think my biggest challenge in those early days was I just didn’t get it - I couldn’t see the link between what I was learning and how it would apply within the workplace. If it wasn’t for my father influencing me to knuckle down and improve my grades, I would have possibly left school with poorer GCSE grades than the ones that I did achieve (2B’s, 1C, 3D’s).
“These enabled me to be selected for a five-year engineering apprentice. After spending a period of time on the engineering shop floor, I transferred to the engineering apprentice training centre training others. This is where things started to come together, and I understood the benefits of further education and continuing professional development.
“Since joining Cala, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to grow in terms of individual responsibility, career and academic progression. I have been promoted through different roles whilst also achieving a range of qualifications including, the NVQ Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health, a BA Hons degree in Business Management and last year I achieved an International Masters in Business Administration. Cala also paid for my BA Hons degree and Internal Masters and gave me time off to study which I'm extremely grateful for. All of these qualifications have had a positive impact on my understanding of how businesses operate and how to engage and influence people at all different levels of the business.
“For anyone waiting to receive their results, remember that you have done all of the hard work to get to this point and no matter what your results are, you should recognise this achievement and remember that this is your time to appreciate all of your hard work. Take some time to relax and then you can consider the next stage in your development - the world is your oyster.
“Thank you, Cala, for your continued commitment, investment and support in developing me into the professional and confident person that I am today and I look forward to giving back to others following similar paths.”
Ciara Fagan - Sales and Transformation Graduate, Cala Group
Ciara is part of the Sales and Transformation team at Cala and is currently on the two-year Graduate Development Programme. However, it’s not a role she would have guessed she would be doing six years ago...
“At school, my favourite subjects were Maths and Biology, so I decided to study Biology at university. However, I quickly realised this wasn’t for me. Although it was daunting, I decided to leave and take a year out. I then went back to uni and studied Business Management, and found I really enjoyed the Marketing side of the course.
“I applied for my current role as I had a keen interest in the property industry and saw Cala as a well-regarded company. Having worked here just over a year now, I’ve learned so much and been given some brilliant opportunities to develop, both personally and professionally. Although I definitely didn’t see myself here when I left school, I am so glad it’s the path I have ended up on.
“In the longer term, I hope to continue to succeed in my role at Cala and keep enjoying the exciting and supportive work environment it provides. I would also like to provide support for new early talent coming into the business so they too feel as welcome as I was.”
Jack Li - Graduate Architectural Designer, Cala Group
“When I finished high school, like most 16 year olds I cared more about football than my career aspirations. However, I always had some interest in architecture and was fascinated by the subject. I decided to enrol myself to a local college and simply picked A-levels which Reddit told me were good if you wanted to become an Architect (it turns out you don’t always need Maths and Physics).
“I studied Architecture at university and I fell even more madly in love with the subject. When I graduated, I didn’t know which sector I wanted to use my degree in, however when I learned more about the shortage of housing in England, I realised I wanted to be part of the solution. I joined Cala’s Graduate Degree Programme as a Graduate Architecture Designer. It was though the programme and the rotations to different department when I discovered the incredible level of complexity and operation in house building and how it is so much more than just knowing how to use Autocad (a design software).
“I am still learning new things every day from everyone around me at Cala. My dream would be, to one day, be the lead design architect for a Cala site.”
Euan Kinross – Commercial Graduate, Cala East
“I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Aberdeen and was around halfway through my studies when I decided that engineering wasn’t something I could see myself pursuing as a career and decided to change path. This was a difficult decision to make, however I realised that even if I had not achieved the degree, the time I spent studying had not been wasted and had given me many transferrable skills.
“I switched universities and gained advanced entry into Quantity Surveying.
“I joined Cala’s Graduate Programme in September 2022 and I have recently been given my own site to look after from a Commercial point of view, controlling and reporting on costs to ensure the project runs well financially. Cala is also supporting me through my RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) course on my path towards chartership.
“My advice to people about to receive their exam results is not to feel like the results define you or your future, whether your results are as you hoped or not.
“I would also say that you should pick a route that you can see yourself enjoying. You will find it easier and more rewarding to spend the time required to achieve your goals in that field if you enjoy doing so.
“The main thing is to do something that you find rewarding in the moment, you don’t need to have your full life plan figured out as soon as you leave school or consider any deviation from your plan a failure, but as long as you are using the opportunities you have to the best of your ability you will find your way in the workplace.”
Early Talent at Cala
Whether you’ve just left school, college or university, or are embarking on something new, Cala has many opportunities to kick start your career. A career in housebuilding can be incredibly versatile, and whichever role you choose at Cala, you can expect to be part of an inclusive environment with opportunities for personal growth.
Speaking about the importance of Early Talent at Cala, Piers Banfield, Group Operations Director and Early Talent Executive Sponsor, said, “We are committed to filling Cala with Early Talent because it is fundamentally good for our business.
“We truly value the energy, creativity, and dynamism which every new Early Talent recruit has brought into our organisation. The fresh thinking, analytical approach and new perspectives that flood Cala as a result of our commitment to Early Talent, is without a doubt the best way we can future proof the business, whilst enabling individuals to take important steps in building exciting and challenging careers with an industry leading housebuilder."
For more information, visit our Early Talent page.