Regulated by RICS

Today is World Youth Skills Day – aimed at raising awareness and celebrating the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

Rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world and is a growing concern for the property industry as we face the reality of more people retiring than joining the industry.

World Youth Skills Day 2020 takes place in a challenging context. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all our lives with many threats to our societies, one of them being skills shortage. Worldwide lockdown measures have led to the closure of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions and it’s estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s learners are affected by school closures across education levels currently.

Prior to the current crisis, young people aged 15-24 were three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and often faced a prolonged school-to-work transition period. In post-COVID-19 societies, as young people are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort, they will need to be equipped with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruptions.

One of the biggest challenges for the property industry is to engage new talent into considering a career in the built environment. Hollis is proud to work with a number of organisations and initiatives designed to promote such careers.

Over the last year we’ve reached around 1,000 young people in a range of activities. In addition to those run by RICS, Surveyfest, Urban Plan, Chartered Surveyors Training Trust (CSTT) and Get Kids Into Survey we’ve furthered our reach by running our own projects.

Our graduate scheme has been in place since the 1990s and it’s a source of great pride and success for Hollis. This is evidenced by a number of graduates joining us each year and many of our current Partners began their careers with us as university graduates.

Our apprenticeship programme which began in 2016 is following closely behind in terms of success. It has become a highly sought-after route to becoming a fully qualified Chartered Building Surveyor. For our most recent intake we’ve received over 350 applications! As part of our scheme we offer an optimal balance of formal training and on-the-job learning, enabling our apprentices to gain qualifications while earning a salary.

We also support LandAid – the property industry charity – as a Foundation Partner as well as fundraising for them throughout the year. LandAid’s mission is ending youth homelessness and they help a number of organisations who educate and up-skill young homeless people.

Our Senior Partner, John Woodman, is Master of the Chartered Surveyors Company. The livery works with and supports a number of schools in London providing presentations, work placements and mentoring. Work placements are supported by leading real estate companies, with these converting into apprenticeships at the firms. The livery also has a property degree bursary scheme for young people who would be unable to join our profession without that financial support.

The issue of the skills gap in the property and construction industry has been around for some time now and won’t be resolved overnight. Starting at grassroots and equipping the younger generation with the necessary skills needed for the future will be essential for the industry to flourish. Overall, we need to be more inclusive, make our industry more attractive to all, and provide adequate training and the relevant work experience to facilitate skills development.

Find more information on World Youth Skills Day here.