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.

Rise in digital construction image

Rise in digital construction

Lee Ramsey explains how digital construction can help local authorities create better buildings and stronger communities.
Alternative lending sources image

Alternative lending sources

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina explores how innovative sources of funding can help solve the UK’s housing shortage.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Experienced Social Workers - Adult Social Care - Batley Hub

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £32,878
We’re looking for Social Workers to join the team.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Business Support Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£18,795 - £19,945 per annum
Seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic team member to carry out day-to-day Business Support duties across Inclusion Support Service.  Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Project Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
The successful applicant will produce research and briefing documents and undertake analysis of data. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Environmental Improvement Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
We have an exciting opportunity to recruit to the position of Environmental Improvement Officer within Regulatory Services. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine