William Eichler 17 June 2019

Widening the property talent pool

Widening the property talent pool image

The property sector has a diversity problem; it is dominated by middle aged white men. While it might be argued that there is nothing wrong with this per se – so long as no one is being deliberately excluded – in the long run it is not good for the sector. When your workforce is drawn from one demographic, ‘group think’ and stagnation is a real risk.

Diversity, then, is important for resilience. According to Nick Walkley, however, developers are struggling to recruit fresh faces. ‘Creating vibrant new places and providing quality homes for people should be hugely inspiring career choices,’ says the chief executive of Homes England. ‘Unfortunately, the opposite is true and as an industry we’re really struggling to attract young people to replace those who are retiring in the next few years.’

The developers Capital & Centric believe they have come up with the solution with their mentorship scheme Regeneration Brainery.

Regeneration Brainery, which is backed by Homes England, DLA Piper and Lambert Smith Hampton, aims to inspire young people from a variety of backgrounds to join the development sector. ‘If we’re going to push the boundaries of how our cities and towns grow in the future, we need new ideas and creative thinkers,’ Tim Heatley of Capital & Centric explains.

‘Widening the pool of talent coming into the industry is essential – it will bring fresh experiences, viewpoints, ideas and solutions.’

The scheme is a week long mentoring project where potential recruits work with people from the sector to get an idea of what is on offer. It seeks to showcase the many different opportunities within the sector, including development, architecture, planning, interior and exterior design, construction, communications and property services.

It also provides the recruits (or ‘Brainees’) with work experience and gives employers an opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds.

‘This isn’t some stuffy seminar,’ says Mr Heatley. ‘It involves interactive workshops, visits to construction sites and workplaces, and practical skills to get ahead in the industry. Brainees also get the chance to mix with the movers and shakers of the property sector, building up their networks leading to work experience and jobs.’

Nick Mullins of Lambert Smith Hampton describes the scheme as a ‘fantastic initiative’. ‘I remember growing up without any understanding or knowledge of how to access a career in the property industry,’ he says.

‘I didn’t know the wide range of avenues I could have explored related to the industry and there certainly wasn’t an initiative such as the Regeneration Brainery that actively promoted the industry.’

The Brainery began in Manchester in 2017 and quickly expanded into Birmingham and Bristol. It is currently working with more than a hundred 16-21 year olds each year, and it has more events coming up in London, Sheffield and Manchester.

Greater Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham is impressed by the initiative: ‘It’s an amazing opportunity for our young people to make connections with potential employers and mentors who can help them to understand the opportunities available to them as they consider their future career.’

Aliza Mian, a former Brainee, agrees. ‘It’s opened my eyes to a whole creative sector I knew little about,’ she says. ‘It has spurred me into actively thinking about a career in regeneration.’

Mr Walkley of Homes England is also supportive of Regeneration Brainery. ‘We need to work much harder and smarter to change perceptions of our industry and show how we’re making it more diverse, more modern and more progressive for young people who want to build a career while contributing to society,’ he says. ‘I’m determined that the new Homes England will show real leadership on these issues, so we didn’t hesitate to support the Regeneration Brainery, which is a brilliant, innovative scheme with real potential.’

This feature first appeared in Public Property magazine. Email l.sharman@hgluk.com to sign up to receive your own free digital copy.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Commissioner for Skills Development

Essex County Council
£39168.0 - £44298 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of over 1.5 million residents, and England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Team Manager - Family Support & Protection - Colchester

Essex County Council
Negotiable
At Essex County Council (ECC) we are "Serious about Social Work". Having won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award and been awarded 'Outst England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Paralegal/Legal Executive

Essex County Council
£30906.0 - £34017 per annum
This fixed term opportunity is to be offered on a 6-month, fixed term contract This role will be predominantly home based as a result of the pandemic England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Lead for Employability & Skills

Essex County Council
£39168.0 - £44298 per annum
Essex is a diverse county with some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country through to highly affluent communities, which gives us a wide England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Adults Social Worker - Recruitment Day - Essex

Essex County Council
£30906.0 - £42254.0 per annum
***When applying for this role, please note that interviews will be held as part of a Virtual Recruitment Day, enquire for dates in your area - *** England, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue