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Meet our bursary recipients for 2021-22

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Three young bursary students of black African and Caribbean heritage in the Chancerygate office

Over the past year the Chancerygate Foundation has been set up and gained charity status. With the launch of the website, and in collaboration with London South Bank University and Kingston University, three students were selected to be our first recipients for bursary support for their time at university.

We set up the Chancerygate Foundation to help break down the barriers facing those from African and Caribbean heritage backgrounds get into the real estate industry. We not only give our students bursaries to help with their everyday costs of being at university but also support them through mentorships and work experience – giving them an unbeatable introduction to the industry and all the support they need to turn it into a career.

In March we met up with the students, they had their professional headshots taken, visited the London Chancerygate office, met their new mentors, Matthew StorrGeorge Dickens and James Tinkler and we caught up over lunch on how their courses are going.

Here is a snippet from each of our current students about how the Chancerygate Foundation has helped them so far.

Kemi Omoyele, student at Kingston University

“My name is Kemi Omoyele. I am of Nigerian heritage and have been given the opportunity of being financially supported by Chancerygate Foundation. I am so thankful.
I feel like it’s really setting me up to succeed. I’ve got the chance to be the first one in my family to graduate from university, and I know my mum will be so proud of me; she is always wanting me to push myself and wants opportunities for me that she didn’t get.”

Mohamed Warsame, student at London South Bank University
“The Chancerygate Foundation gives a helping hand to support students from African or Caribbean backgrounds and provides us with a platform to build and pursue long term careers within the real estate industry. This allows me to focus and dedicate my time solely for study and not be diverted by work and thinking of how can I pay for my livelihood. It also keeps my parents at rest knowing that I am supported and relieving them of any financial burdens.”

Tyreece Phillips, student at London South Bank University
“My name is Tyreece, I grew up in Wolverhampton and come from a black Caribbean family. I have had the pleasure to receive support from the Chancerygate Foundation both academically and financially. In the environment I was surrounded in, it gave me the feeling that there were fewer ways to thrive and succeed. This is the reason I decided to focus on improving my life and acquiring a career so that my family has somebody to look up to and be a role model to my younger brother. I would like to say thank you, to all parties involved for this life changing opportunity, I’m going to the make the most of it and ensure efforts are reflected academically on my journey to become a building surveyor.”

The application process will start again later this year and we are certain we will find three more students eager to study for a career in the property sector. If you would like to apply, please click here.

Summer work experience | Zarah & Kevon

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The Chancerygate Foundation was established to support and advance opportunities in the property sector for young people from ethnic minorities. One of the ways we do this is through education, by meeting students from schools and colleges to show them the real face of the property industry, and the breadth of careers available.

This Summer we had Zarah & Kervon from King Solomon Academy join us for two days of work experience to learn more about the property industry and career paths available. Day one consisted of a construction site visit and a day out in the field. Day two was spent in the Chancerygate London office, learning about the various different roles in the business.

Here’s what Zarah had to say about her experience:

“During my experience with Chancerygate I encountered a whole new side to a private construction firm which portrayed a family ambience. My highlight was seeing the construction site in Sidcup and exploring how Chancerygate as a company are working to be more sustainable. I also loved learning about the different roles in the offices which was extremely helpful as I learnt about a range of career choices as I go into my final year of school.”

Kevon said:

“The experience I had at Chancerygate was really hands on and ensured that you learn and understand how the roles presented to you are carried out. Amanda who is part of the CSR team showed us areas of interest and things that would help us choose a career path. We learnt about project management from Matt, development management from Tom, and asset management from George, all of which helped me to expand my knowledge and opened my eyes to the breadth of opportunities available.” 

Why I’m talking to property people about race

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By Eddie Cook, Trustee, the Chancerygate Foundation

In the last few weeks, high profile sporting events have brought into much sharper and more uncomfortable focus what it means to be Black and British. And while many of the behaviours we’ve seen in the mainstream media are at the extreme, they point to an important truth: there are very few, if any, places in our business culture where equality truly exists and diversity thrives.

Clearly, the property sector is no exception. In fact, it is less diverse than the House of Commons. According to the RICS last year, the unacceptable truth is that only 1.6% of RICS professionals in the UK are from Black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

The Chancerygate Foundation was formed at the end of 2020 to play a part in changing this landscape. A not-for-profit charity, we focus on helping young people from BME backgrounds to forge a career in the property sector.

It came as part of Chancerygate’s 25th anniversary celebrations as a result of a long-held view from the company’s Chairman, Andrew Johnson, and his wife Vanzel, and is based on the idea that the best way to increase diversity is through education.

“We started the Foundation with a very clear goal,” he said, “To help as many Black and minority ethnic students as possible to embark on careers in property.

“One of the most challenging barriers faced by Black and minority students leaving university is to find a job. The Chancerygate Foundation helps those students throughout their university experience and mentor them as they take the first steps on the road to a property career.”

Part of its objective is to provide university grants for RICS-accredited courses up to £10,000 to successful applicants; help secure work experience and internships; and offer support and advice about working within the property sector. It has formed alliances with London South Bank University and Kingston University where it will support students studying RICS-accredited courses.

With these bursaries, the aim is to offer more than just money. It’s important, of course, but there’s so much more to supporting students than just handing over a cheque. Our goal is to build a long-term relationship with the Foundation students, providing mentoring and ongoing support, and leveraging our network of contacts to give them the best possible chance of finding work when they graduate.

We’ve just made our first intern appointment too. Andreas Odysseos will join Montagu Evans at the start of September spending time in its commercial, agency and advisory team as well as its property management team as part of a nine-month placement. He will then spend one month at Chancerygate before completing his BSc in Property Finance & Investment at Nottingham Trent University.

Andreas heard about the Foundation through a press release announcing its formation and through his early initiative he approached the Trustees who felt they could help find him a position for him to gain valuable experience in industry during his sandwich course placement year. He said: “I am extremely grateful for the Trustees help and guidance in finding a placement for me. Having the opportunity to learn and gain a working experience with Montagu Evans is something I am really excited about and I look forward to joining the team in September.”

Victoria Thompson, HR Director at Montagu Evans, explains more about what it means to their partnership: “Working with the Chancerygate Foundation is a practical way to make a difference at an individual level.

“It’s not just that the real estate sector needs to better embrace and reflect the society we are here to support. The last year has been incredibly tough on all young people studying and starting out on their careers. They will be having a very different experience to what most of us remember, and with working life beginning to return to normality we’re in a position to make their professional journeys easier.”

Ultimately, a more diverse profession is a more dynamic profession. I believe that greater diversity opens businesses up to new ideas and fresh perspectives. It stops everything being so one-dimensional.

As Trustees, we’re already looking at what else we can do to help students, including after they’ve graduated. Introductions, connections, internships and work placements are already in place for most businesses in our sector. Let’s use them better and create more opportunities for the talented future workforce we know is out there.

We’re not going to fix this issue overnight, but we have to start somewhere. My hope is that over time we’ll build a kind of web of support for greater diversity and inclusion. Our students will hopefully be inspired to go on and give something back themselves, and of course, they’ll provide role models for the next generation.

For more information on the Chancerygate Foundation visit www.chancerygatefoundation.com or contact Foundation Director Amanda Walker.

First intern appointment for Chancerygate Foundation Andreas Odysseos to join Montagu Evans

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The Chancerygate Foundation, a newly-formed not-for-profit charity focussed on helping young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to forge a career in the property sector, has placed its first intern with an external organisation.

Andreas Odysseos will join Montagu Evans at the start of September spending time in its commercial, agency and advisory team as well as its property management team as part of a nine-month placement. He will then spend one month at leading industrial developer and asset manager, Chancerygate before completing his BSc in Property Finance & Investment at Nottingham Trent University.

The Chancerygate Foundation was set up in late 2020 as part of Chancerygate’s 25th anniversary celebrations. Part of its objectives is to provide university grants for RICS-accredited courses up to £10,000 to successful applicants; help secure work experience and internships; and offer support and advice about working within the property sector. In addition to this intern appointment, the Foundation has formed an alliance with London South Bank University and Kingston University where it will support students studying RICS-accredited courses.

Andreas heard about the Foundation through a press release announcing its formation and through his early initiative he approached the Trustees who felt they could help find him a position for him to gain valuable experience in industry during his sandwich course placement year. He said: “I am extremely grateful for the Trustees help and guidance in finding a placement for me. Having the opportunity to learn and gain a working experience with Montagu Evans is something I am really excited about and I look forward to joining the team in September”.

Victoria Thompson, HR Director at Montagu Evans, added: “Working with the Chancerygate Foundation is a practical way to make a difference at an individual level and something we are keen to be involved in.

“It’s not just that the real estate sector needs to better embrace and reflect the society we are here to support. The last year has been incredibly tough on young people studying and starting out on their careers. They will be having a very different experience to what most of us remember, and with working life beginning to return to normality we’re in a position to make their professional journeys easier. Andreas has already proved through the interview process that he will be an asset to our partnership and we’re looking forward to seeing him in September.”

Eddie Cook, a Trustee at Chancerygate Foundation commented: “Whilst the Foundation has helped provide work experience for other students through its association with Chancerygate as a business, Andreas is the first we have helped to secure a position with an external organisation. From his attitude and initiative shown to date, I have no doubt Andreas will have a great career in property. I am extremely grateful to Montagu Evans for providing such an excellent opportunity for this young man. We now need more employers across the sector who would be willing to offer placements to other students and would encourage people to get in touch to find out more.”

New £180k bursary will support more black and minority ethnic students at LSBU to work in UK property industry

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Chancerygate Foundation have announced a new £180,000 bursary programme to enable more black and minority ethnic students to study at London South Bank University (LSBU) and build careers in the property industry.

The £180,000 bursary programme will support students who are black and minority ethnic to study RICS-accredited chartered surveying courses at LSBU over their three year course from October 2021. The programme will support 6 students with £10,000 a year for their living expenses in LSBU courses which lead to Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accreditation. The programme supports LSBU’s work with the Bridge Group on increasing diversity in the UK’s property industry.

Only 1.6% of RICS professionals in the UK are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds (RICS 2020).

The not-for-profit Chancerygate Foundation was established in 2020 to create an inclusive and diverse UK real estate sector where people from disadvantaged black and minority ethnic backgrounds can succeed. The Chancerygate Foundation offers bursaries to qualifying students, allowing them to access RICS-accredited courses.

Amanda Walker, a Director of the Chancerygate Foundation, said,

“It might seem hard to believe, but the real estate sector is actually less diverse than the House of Commons. There’s a report recently published by the Bridge Group that makes for sobering reading. The perception is that real estate is a world where it’s still very much about who you know, and the evidence backs that up. That’s exactly what we are hoping to tackle through the work of the Chancerygate Foundation. We want to inspire people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who would not have considered a career in this sector – and to encourage them to believe that it’s possible.”

Professor George Ofori, Dean of The Built Environment and Architecture school at LSBU, said:

“The £180,000 bursary from Chancerygate Foundation will make a huge difference, supporting more black and minority ethnic students to study at LSBU and gain the qualifications they need to work in chartered surveying roles in the property industry. This incredibly kind donation by Chancerygate Foundation will support LSBU’s ‘No Barriers to Brilliance programme’ which is widening opportunities for our students and will increase diversity in the UK’s property industry.”

Eddie Cook, Chancerygate Foundation, Trustee

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Eddie Cook (BSc Building Surveying, 1986) is a trustee of the Chancerygate Foundation, which is supporting two new bursaries for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds applying to our Building Surveying and Quantity Surveying BSc courses.

I always wanted to be a surveyor – I guess that’s quite unusual as childhood ambitions go! I had a cousin who was a chartered surveyor and he was probably the most successful person in our family. I really looked up to him. Plus I always had an interest in building things and putting things together. It was a pretty obvious path for me to take.

Looking back, I definitely gained my qualifications the hard way. When I left school in 1977, I initially went into banking. There was a downturn, and opportunities in the property sector were scarce. Then I got the chance to join the insurance company Liverpool Victoria in 1978, as a trainee surveyor. It meant a huge pay cut – from something like £3,500 a year to £2,000! – but I was doing what I wanted to do. I started studying for the RICS exams via a correspondence course but distance learning didn’t really work for me, so I enrolled at the then South Bank Poly for a part-time degree. That meant commuting one day a week from Essex to Stockwell and working the rest of the time. It was tough – but it meant that all the time I was learning, I was getting experience on the ground too.

Joining Chancerygate was an opportunity to put everything I’d learned into practice in an environment with huge potential for growth. I spent my last five years at Liverpool Victoria working on the fund management side – a significant change of direction for a building surveyor. By the time I moved to Chancerygate at the start of 2001 I had a pretty good understanding of building construction and of how to manage property assets as an investment. Establishing the asset management side really enabled the company to start its growth journey, from a small team working in the Park Royal area to what it is today – one of the UK’s biggest multi-unit industrial property developers and asset managers.

By 2016, I was at a crossroads. The 2008 global financial crisis had a huge impact on the business. When I took over as MD in 2010, my priority was to help turn Chancerygate into a less leveraged business and make the company more resilient. We succeeded in doing that and putting in place a new business plan. I realised it needed five or ten more years of my time and I didn’t have that to give. The business also deserved someone new at the helm, with fresh energy and ideas to take it forward. I stayed on for a year to help find my successor, before retiring at the end of 2017.

Now it’s time for me to give something back. It’s something I’ve done throughout my career, through mentoring and finding placements for young people. Personally, I’ve always found that very rewarding and it’s nice now to be able to devote a bit more time and energy to it as a trustee of the Chancerygate Foundation, alongside my consultancy work.

A more diverse profession is a more dynamic profession. It’s fair to say the property sector is pretty much dominated by white middle-class males, and there’s a lot of nepotism too. I believe that greater diversity opens businesses up to new ideas and fresh perspectives. It stops everything being so one-dimensional.

There is much more to the bursaries we’re offering than just financial support. As trustees, we’re already looking at what else we can do to help students, including after they’ve graduated. After such a long time in the industry, I’ve got a pretty good network of contacts. Now I’m leveraging that to try to find opportunities for work experience and internships – things that will make our students’ CVs stand out when they’re applying for jobs. That’s such an important part of what we do, along with going out and talking to pupils and students in schools, colleges and universities about the sector. I want more people to know what a great, rewarding and enjoyable career this can be.

This is just the start of the journey. We’re not going to fix this issue overnight, but you have to start somewhere. My hope is that over time we’ll build a kind of web of support for greater diversity and inclusion. Our students will hopefully be inspired to go on and give something back themselves, and of course, they’ll provide role models for the next generation.

Find out more about the Chancerygate bursary.

Autumn work experience | Rafa

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The Chancerygate Foundation was established to support and advance opportunities in the property sector for young people from ethnic minorities. One of the ways we do this is through education, by meeting students from schools and colleges to show them the real face of the property industry, and the breadth of careers available.

Last Autumn we had Rafa from King Solomon Academy join us for two days of work experience to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at Chancerygate.

Here’s what Rafa had to say about her experience:

“Having grown up in a deprived area, I rarely expected good opportunities to come out of living and studying here; Chancerygate has given me the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience about the field I plan to go into in the future – Property Development. Throughout my time at Chancerygate, I visited a current project in Chertsey, where I was able to find out more about the role of a project manager, what responsibilities they have, and their accountability for the entire project scope. As someone who is a practical learner, seeing the construction site first-hand has given me a better understanding of the roles that come with working in commercial property, which helped me to better comprehend the information I was being taught.

On the second day of my work experience, I was welcomed into the Chancerygate London office, where I got to learn about the roles of an asset manager, development manager and marketing manager, and how all the roles and responsibilities come together. I found it interesting learning about how projects are always seen through from conception to completion. From this experience, I have learnt how to cope in a new working environment.

I am grateful to have gained the knowledge I did, which I can apply to my course at university next year. I am also grateful for the opportunity to have met and networked with people who can help me with my future career plans. I would like to thank Chancerygate for introducing me into the world of commercial property and for having me partake in this program.”

 

Amanda Walker, Chancerygate Foundation, Director

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Amanda Walker is director of the Chancerygate Foundation, which is supporting two new bursaries for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds applying to our Building Surveying and Quantity Surveying BSc courses.

It might seem hard to believe, but the real estate sector is actually less diverse than the House of Commons. There’s a report recently published by the Bridge Group that makes for sobering reading. The perception is that real estate is a world where it’s still very much about who you know, and the evidence backs that up. That’s exactly what we are hoping to tackle through the work of the Chancerygate Foundation. We want to inspire people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who would not have considered a career in this sector – and to encourage them to believe that it’s possible.

The Foundation is based on the idea that the best way to increase diversity is through education. Andrew Johnson, the founder of Chancerygate, believes passionately that everyone should have the same chance to access a good education. Having the opportunity to realise your potential shouldn’t be a privilege that’s reserved for the few.

Financial support can make a huge difference to students – I’ve seen that for myself. I’m a single parent with two daughters at university, and I can see how difficult it is for them to get by. Students at LSBU have to contend with the high costs of living in London. Even if they’re not paying rent, things like travel costs can be a huge barrier. I know for example there are students living in the outer zones who struggle to get to their lectures on time because they can’t afford a peak Travelcard. That’s just another source of worry and anxiety to pile on top of the other pressures they’re already dealing with.

With these bursaries, we want to offer more than just money. It’s important, of course, but there’s so much more to supporting students than just handing over a cheque. Our goal is to build a long-term relationship with the Foundation students, providing mentoring and ongoing support, and leveraging our network of contacts to give them the best possible chance of finding work when they graduate from LSBU. I’m a year away from qualifying as a counsellor and I think that’s going to be enormously helpful in terms of working with the students, and maybe recognising the signs that someone could do with a bit of extra help.

For me, this role brings together so many of the things I’m passionate about. I’ve spent much of my career in education, helping young people and – increasingly – focusing on their mental health. In my last role at Oundle School I was liaising with the community, finding ways that our pupils could support local people and local initiatives. So the idea of giving something back really resonates with me too.

We’re so excited to be launching these bursaries. I can’t wait to start working with the students on this potentially life-changing initiative. In future, of course, we hope to be able to help more people but for now the focus is on making sure we can walk before we run, and on ensuring that we are providing high quality support and building strong relationships with our students. That’s the priority.

Find out more about the Chancerygate bursary.