Creating opportunities for all

HBD is a developer renowned for taking on challenging sites across the country and transforming them into new places with purpose. That work is delivered with an ambitious group of colleagues who are helping us create new spaces which positively impact the communities in which we operate.

The key to success is creating an open, flexible and welcoming culture, one in which anyone, regardless of their experience, can thrive and succeed – be that people from non-property backgrounds, regions outside of our office locations, or from other industries and sectors entirely!

In this article, we meet three colleagues working in such roles…


Hollie: “I’d never worked in property, but this is the right role for me!”

In my pre-HBD days I worked in recruitment, and prior to that in the financial sector. I knew I wanted a change but didn’t quite know what to do.

In early 2020, I successfully applied for my current job as Office Manager at HBD in Manchester. Everything appealed; the brand looked strong, the people seemed friendly, and the work looked interesting; I was so excited to learn new things, and work in an entirely new industry.

But my timing was awful, and the pandemic hit just weeks after I started, meaning I was at home unable to mingle with my new team. I had to wait until September for our slow and safe return to the office, a time at which I feel my HBD career really began!

Since then, I’ve really got my teeth into my work, and I’ve always been made to feel a very valued member of the team, in fact colleagues have gone out of their way to help me really understand the industry, giving presentations and talking me through the journey of some of our most exciting developments. Island in Manchester, our first Net Zero workspace, is the one that’s really caught my eye and the development team has shared lots of ideas and information with me.

Such transparency has helped me fully understand the extent of our work. This has been the best environment in which to learn about our sector.

I’m also really empowered to get involved in activities outside of my day job and one of my favourite tasks is my role on our charity committee. HBD is big on giving back, and so much of what we do is centred on supporting the communities around our offices and our schemes. I lead this initiative in Manchester and Bristol, making recommendations on the charities we can support; I recently slept outside for the night with colleagues as part of LandAid’s Sleepout, and I help with food banks in Manchester in my spare time too.

I can’t imagine working anywhere else, and I want to see schemes like Island become a reality before I make any other changes in my career! Even though I’m not in development I feel I’m part of the story, and I have to be around to see it through.


Matt: “From Glasgow to Gloucestershire – it doesn’t matter where you’re based; HBD focuses on investing in people to get things done”

I’ve always worked in the property sector, spending the last four years at HBD as director and head of region for Scotland.

The most appealing thing about our business is the flexible and open attitude. At HBD it doesn’t matter where you’re based, our organisation instead focuses on investing in people and getting things done.

We embrace the modern working world, bringing the best people together virtually. For me right now that means working from my home in Glasgow but leading on oour project at Golden Valley, a significant, £1bn regeneration that we’re undertaking in partnership with Factory and Cheltenham Borough Council.

The development is incredibly exciting and a big coup for the project team involved. We’re working towards creating up to 12,000 new jobs, 3,700 homes and 2 million sq.ft of commercial space, as well as bolstering the region’s cyber ecosystem with the creation of a new 150,000 sq.ft National Cyber Innovation Centre.

A scheme like Golden Valley bears all the hallmarks of a HBD project – a great location but a challenging site which is being successfully delivered through collaboration and partnership, that’s what I love doing and I’m thrilled to be involved.

But beyond our work, another hallmark of HBD is the quality of our people. Everyone in this business is great and, even though I’m based north of the border, I’m still very much a part of the team thanks to our genuinely open culture.

I love being a part of it and very much look forward to being a part of HBD’s future.


Kirsten: “My secondment was easy thanks to HBD’s agile and forward-thinking approach”

Secondments are unique, offering the opportunity to align with your client in a more integral and collaborative way. I have never been seconded before as I am a full-time project manager with Turner & Townsend Real Estate, but for the last 12 months I’ve also worked two days a week on secondment for HBD.

HBD, who are a client of Turner and Townsend, were keen to appoint a Development Manager at Cloverhill – a social housing development of 536 new homes in Aberdeen, with commercial and community facilities. After some initial discussions I was offered the exciting opportunity to take on the role, while also keeping my day job at Turner & Townsend.

Most employers would shy away, but it’s been easy thanks to HBD and T&T’s agile approach. They didn’t see any barriers, they simply wanted to get things set up so that I could spend part of my working week on Cloverhill, while spending the remaining working days fulfilling my existing role.

I didn’t hesitate in moving forward with the secondment. I’m a chartered architect by profession and the calibre of design across the HBD portfolio really appealed; this is an organisation which puts design first, bringing impact and value to the built environment.

That really aligns with my own values and fascination with good buildings; architecture is so important in our day to day lives – be it our homes, cultural icons in our towns and cities, or places of need like schools and hospitals – we have such a connection with these structures and I’m so fortunate to be spending my career playing a part in their creation.

HBD’s people also seem to share that view and they’re such a great bunch to work with. My main contacts are Matt Bellshaw and Nigel Munro and they’ve been so accommodating, making me feel part of the team from the word go.

We’re a year into this arrangement and I’m looking forward to another three years of collaborating in this way. I cannot wait to see Cloverhill come to fruition, a development that is going to bring high-quality social housing it will bring to Aberdeen – helping local people and making a positive impact for the area.

As for my secondment, I think it’s been a real success story and shows that having dual roles can work well; it just needs flexibility, trust and good working relationships.  It’s also a great opportunity to work on different projects, be involved in different working practices, and, most importantly, fulfilling a service that your client needs in terms of resource.

I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to do that.