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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.