Widening Participation to Build a Better Future

Posted on: 12 July, 2016

On 28 June, we attended and exhibited at the RICS Diversity and Inclusion Conference, held at the Hilton Bankside, London. Almost 200 delegates attended RICS blog 1and listened to key industry figures share their personal experiences and examples of best practice when it comes to safeguarding our future workforce.

In order to do this, the industry needs to attract a diverse mix of people with different backgrounds and experiences. Not only does the industry need to be more diverse in recruitment from the top to the bottom, it also needs to make the working environment more attractive to those recruits. A poll shared by RICS during the event revealed that 61 per cent say the perception of our industry is the biggest barrier to diversity and inclusion.

We’re extremely passionate about making sure everyone who wants to be part of the Built Environment feels they can be. And with this, the UCEM learning model is specifically aimed at catering for all backgrounds and needs. The conference saw many key topics under the theme of diversity raised including; reworking the recruitment process; monitoring diversity; and changing our image.

The keynote address – inclusivity
David Hourihan, Programme Leader, MSc Real Estate at UCEM attended the busy event and was present for the keynote address by Paul Abrey, Head of Property Management and Diversity Council Representative, and Vinay Kapoor, Head of Property Management and Diversity Council Representative.RICS blog 4

David comments, “Paul Abrey’s presentation on being gay in real estate was inspiring. In addition to this, Abrey highlighted that more needs to be done by employers to support mental health.”

Abrey stressed that businesses today cannot work across borders if they are not inclusive, and this applies, perhaps, more so at a board level, where women and ethnic minorities are still underrepresented. Abreycalled for more senior staff to be visible at diversity events, such as meetings of Freehold, the network for LGBT professionals in the real estate industry. At the other end of the spectrum, he spoke of the need to attract more female apprentices.

UK Head of Diversity & Inclusion at BNP Paribas, Vinay Kapoor, then showed the audience how their business had created a successful governance structure for addressing this area. They treat diversity as a business issue, specifically avoiding having HR staff on their diversity and inclusion council.

For more on the event highlights you can watch a video here. The conference also saw the launch of RICS report ‘Building Inclusivity: laying the foundations for the future’, which highlights that great steps are starting to emerge as more employers look to establish a diverse workforce.RIcs blog 2

UCEM apprentices take to the stage

In addition to attending and exhibiting at the conference, we were extremely proud to have three of our student apprentices attend a panel with BBC presenter Riz Lateef, answering the question ‘What makes an attractive employer?’

Jessica Austen, Joe Chapman and Adelle Rhule-Martin each took to the stage and discussed their experiences and opinions on what they feel makes an employer attractive to them.

Adelle Rhule-Martin reported that a few speakers during the conference touched on the fact people tend to apply for companies where they believe they’d “fit in” and be RICS blog 3accepted. Adelle’s advice is to, “Allow your differences to be a unique selling point, that motivates others to know they too can achieve greatness.”

If you’re interested in studying with UCEM and perhaps starting an apprenticeship, you can hear more directly from one of our apprentices Tanbir Chowdhury, who is currently studying Building Surveying with us and works for Viridian Housing as an Apprentice Property Surveyor with the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust – Click here for more.

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