An Interview With:
Nigel Palmer – Managing Director – Redrow South Wales
Redrow has grown from a small civil engineering enterprise in North Wales to become one of the UK’s leading housebuilders and a FTSE 250 company. Nigel Palmer is Managing Director of Redrow in South Wales. He talks to Business News Wales about how Redrow is creating a better way for people to live
Let’s start by understanding what you mean by creating a better place to live
We exist to create a better way for people to live. Put simply, a high quality lifestyle for our customers delivers growing returns for our shareholders. It’s our purpose in life.
We’ve earned a unique reputation for quality and building beautiful homes where people want to live over the last 40 years. Creating thriving communities by building responsibly and valuing people is at the very core of our business strategy.
How has the business performed over the last year?
We’re on site at 13 developments across Wales which, when all are completed, will deliver
over 3,000 new homes, based on current planning consents.
Developments range from smaller settlements to whole new sustainable communities such as Plasdŵr, Cardiff’s £2 billion garden city and Wales’s largest development. Homes range from one and two-bedroom apartments and houses to luxury five-bedroom executive homes.
Did Covid-19 impact performance?
Covid-19 had an inevitable impact in 2020, but we started our new financial year (July 2020) strong, with a record order book and very high levels of work in progress brought forward. Redrow plc’s interim results for the six months to 27 December 2020 reported record first-half revenue and legal completions, profits up 11% and over 95% forward sales to the end of June 2021.
In fact, sales have been incredibly strong, driven by growing demand here for premium family housing, and the pent-up demand we saw following the first national lockdown. We also found that our ‘Better Way to Live’ philosophy has resonated even more during the pandemic, with customers increasingly balancing their priorities across work, home and their local community.
The result is that, in Wales, we are almost totally forward sold to December 2021 already and anticipate that we’ll be ahead of pre-Covid performance by June 2022 (our next financial year).
Tell us about your people development strategy
We directly employ just under 340 people in Wales – 15% trainees, graduates or apprentices – and 93% of Redrow’s products, services and labour are procured locally.
Training and development continue to be fundamental to the growth of our business with individuals given the skills and opportunities to realise their potential and fulfil their aspirations. This is demonstrated by more than 50% of our directors coming from internal promotions.
From sales and site management to quantity surveying and customer service, we make sure all colleagues reach their full potential. Thanks to our enthusiastic learning and development team, we deliver high-quality training to everyone from entry-level trainees to experienced professionals.
We are proud to be leading the industry in developing the next generation of builders and skilled tradespeople. Not only do our apprentices get first class training, both on site and at local colleges like Coleg Cambria, we also partner with key suppliers to ensure they get a comprehensive understanding of the wider aspects of their chosen field.
And finally, what motivates you personally…
For me personally, the most rewarding aspect of the job is attracting talented people and investing in them through training, development and well-being programmes. I’m really proud to say that, in a recent survey, 98% of my colleagues in South Wales said they were proud to work for Redrow. There’s certainly nowhere else I would rather be.