I never knew there was such a thing as a career in property, let alone having a clue about what a surveyor was until I attended the Pathways to Property Summer School in the summer of 2014. From there, I was linked to CBRE through the work experience programme they offer. The summer school inspired me to learn more about a career as a surveyor but the work experience cemented it. I remember standing on the 39th floor of the South Bank Tower looking over London, and thinking, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
So, I applied to do Real Estate at the University of Reading and applied for the apprenticeship too, just to be on the safe side, I thought. However, here I am, in my second year of my apprenticeship currently on a secondment to Land Securities, and I have never once looked back and thought I wish I had gone down the traditional route to university.
I think the most valuable thing about doing an apprenticeship is the practical experience. I am learning things that I wouldn’t get to learn until my third or fourth year at university. Another real benefit has been the exposure to people inside the industry. As part of the CBRE Apprenticeship, you have year long rotations. By the end of it, I will have worked in four different teams, in four different parts of the business (and if you have the opportunity, like me, to be seconded, you’ll have worked at another organisation too). This undeniably means my network is likely to be much bigger than a graduate’s.
As a young person, entering the corporate world, it’s been so useful to have a lot of support within the business. I think the best thing about being at CBRE is that I am not treated like an ‘apprentice’. I have the opportunity to be involved in work that I would never have thought I could have been involved in at school. As a business, line managers are also trained in managing an apprentice.
CBRE have always been there for me since the first day I entered the business on my first day of work experience. Kimberley Henry, our apprenticeship coordinator provides amazing support for all of us.
Anyone considering an apprenticeship should just go for it! The way things are going, and with something called the apprenticeship levy, it is now in a company’s best interest to start apprenticeship schemes. The levy means that money is being taken from large organisations in order to incentivise them to claim it back by filtering it through the apprenticeship training. I see graduate and apprenticeship intake almost becoming equal in the next 5 years.
The government introducing the apprenticeship levy has definitely been a good place to start, however I think more awareness definitely needs to be raised within schools. There is still a lot of stigma around apprenticeships and that needs to change.
A recent government campaign resonates with me ‘GET IN GO FAR’, which was great. It really gave apprenticeships the sort of publicity they deserve. This needs to continue but also driving it through schools.