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Savills share best practice on social mobility

12.11.2020

Savills are committed to social mobility and have shared some of their best practice with Real Estate Balance. 

Savills Apprenticeship Scheme

Savills began its apprenticeship scheme in 2014 – the scheme began as a partnership with City Gateway, an apprenticeship provider based in Lambeth and this was tied up with the Ladder for London programme. The scheme was spearheaded by current co-chair of Savills Socio Economic group Alison Mennecier who had read that if every company in London employed one apprentice there would be no youth unemployment and this was her motivator for bringing the scheme to the business.

As of 2020 Savills currently has 67 employees studying an apprenticeship – this encompasses a range of staff included current employees who have chosen to upskill, graduates who are completing their masters and also those who began studying immediately after leaving sixth form.

Savills has played a key role in shaping apprenticeships in the property industry, having been involved in helping to create the Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Town Planner apprenticeship standards. There are currently 16 divisions within the Savills business with an apprentice.

How does it work in practice?

Apprenticeships are a mixture of on the job training and studying – all apprentices are required to do 80% on the job training and spend the other 20% on studying. This means that each apprentice will have one day off per week to focus on their apprenticeship study. Savills offers apprenticeships in different areas, these rely on distance learning and this means the study day can be flexible to suit the needs of the team. They can offer a great direct route into property for those looking for an alternative route to University.

Apprenticeships come in levels – the schemes Savills offer range from Level 3 (equivalent to A-Level) through to Level 7 (equivalent to Masters). Typically apprenticeships will follow an academic year so the apprentices will have the standard holidays.

How to apply

Potential candidates can apply via the Savills website. Applications for the September 2021 intake will open in March 2021. To apply the candidate will need to:
Complete an online application form. This will include attaching a CV and cover letter
If successful they will be invited to an assessment day
If successful at the assessment day they will be invited to an interview
After a successful interview they will then receive a job offer.

Apprenticeships are a great way to bring a fresh perspective into the workplace, as well as providing the opportunity to shape and mould young talent who may well stay with the company for a long time.

The majority of the training providers we work with offer distance learning, this means that despite the pandemic the training part of the apprenticeships has continued as normal with both webinars and lectures taking place online.

Further information on Savills apprenticeship scheme can be found here: https://www.savills.co.uk/contact-us/careers/graduate-careers/your-career-journey/apprenticeships.aspx

 

Interview with Henry Mundell

Henry Mundell, surveyor in Savills property management team and the first recruit on the firm’s apprenticeship scheme was also the first apprentice in the business to qualify as a chartered surveyor.

Established in 2016 to help give people an alternative route into the property industry, the Savills apprenticeship scheme has gone from strength to strength and now has more than 67 apprentices in teams across the business. With the opportunity to work whilst studying, participants can become fully qualified chartered surveyors within five years.

What drew you to the apprentice scheme?

I left school at 18 and knew that I wanted to work in property – I knew that I didn’t want to go to university the traditional way. After researching I stumbled across apprenticeships for surveying and this is where I began.

How did you find it?

Studying and working at the same time is a big juggling act – you’re balancing your work load with your studies as well as trying to maintain a social life. I spent the first couple of years trying to find the balance but felt it really set me up once as it came to studying for the APC. While others found the initial balance of working and studying for the APC by this point I knew how I worked and this was a transition that was seamless for me.

And while the working week was always varied, I enjoyed having the routine of having the same day set aside for studying each year.

Do you have any advice for those thinking about apprenticeships?

My main advice would be don’t be afraid to ask questions – everyone started somewhere and your colleagues are there to provide guidance. There’s no such thing as a silly question when you’re learning.

I would also say to just make the most of your time, use it to grow professionally but it’s also worth joining clubs – I joined the football team early on. It’s a great way to feel at home quickly in the company as well as allowing you to get to know people in other teams.

My final piece of advice would be to try to be as client facing as possible. This puts you in a position of responsibility and means that you’ll feel rewarded when things go right and will learn quickly when things don’t go according to plan.

 

Career Ready is a national charity found in 2002 by leading business figures with a mission: to boost social mobility by empowering young people and giving their talents a platform to flourish. In the last 18 years they’re built up a network across the UK, reaching 150,000 young people and connecting them with employers and volunteers from the world of work.

In that time they’ve built up a network of 1,000 employer supporters and 5,000 volunteers annually who deliver a range of high-quality careers focused programmes in 400 schools and colleges. The charity focuses on empowering young people who face barriers in education and employment. 61% of students they work with will be the first in their family to go to university and 42% of the young people they connect with are from BAME backgrounds, this increases to 83% in London.

In 2019 the charity transformed the lives of 69,000 young people. Their own impact evaluation and wider research highlighted that young people who participated in their activities were more likely to be employed, earn higher wages and see improvements in their academic attainment.

Savills has been working with the charity for the last year, in that time 35 staff volunteered to mentor at and support students participating in Career Ready’s programme. As well as supporting the communities in which Savills work, working with Career Ready allows Savills employees to engage with diverse talent and to learn from students too.

Volunteering involved running Career Ready Masterclasses in schools. Volunteers spoke about their own career journey and then pupils got involved in various activities to think about their career aspirations and what their priorities were. Questions raised by pupils included “what is profession”, “why do I need a degree” and “what kind of culture does Savills have?” The masterclasses provide pupils with the opportunity to directly ask basic career questions to those in business.

Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, CEO of Career Ready says: “We work with some of the most resilient, brave, and tenacious young people of their generation. These young people have started life experiencing single or multiple social barriers and yet display a focused desire to achieve and experience better. For many of them they are pioneers in their families; first to attend university and/or first with aspirations to work in a particular industry. We work with the students to help them realise how excellent and talented they are and open their eyes to the different career paths they can take.”

 

The Big House Theatre is an Islington based charity that works with young people who have been through the care system and are finding life difficult. They use theatre, the development of life skills and therapeutic intervention to inspire their members and to facilitate personal growth. In their own words The Big House is a place where people who may have given up on themselves gain the skills and confidence to turn their lives around.

The charity was founded by Maggie Norris eight years ago. Maggie has worked in theatre as both an actor and an award winning director, she also had a play transferred to The Royal Court Theatre. Through volunteering, she got involved in directing a play at Wormwood Scrubs, and while there she realised those prisoners who needed the most support were those who had grown up in care and from there the idea of The Big House was born.

Maggie and her team use drama as a tool to engage young people to allow them to gain life skills and trust. As well as theatre, group provided young people with a consistency that had been missing from their lives up until that point as well as life workshops including money management and first aid training. The inspiration for the plays performed by members come from personal stories that members themselves share.

Alison Mennecier, co-chair of Savills Socio Economic group says, “The Big House Theatre Company do amazing work with those who didn’t get the start in life they deserved. As a group we are proud to support them – and while some of their members go on to act professionally, their main aim is to give them a solid foundation to build on. We’ve been working with the charity for the last year and I would encourage anyone who’s interested and able to attend one of their shows.”

Savills supports The Big House Theatre via volunteering, attending their performances and financial donations.