Skip to content
Search

News & opinion

28 JUN 2018

The big debate: how to attract a more diverse workforce

RICS partnered with educational charity Debate Mate to sponsor their series of UK wide debating competitions, reaching 3,000 diverse students across 150 schools.

The debate topics covered the built environment, including the demise of the high street and solving the housing crisis. The culmination was the Debate Mate Cup Grand Final at RICS HQ. Over 120 of the top debating young talent from Manchester, London, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham, Harrow and Smethwick took over RICS HQ to find out who would be crowned champions.

Out of the top sixteen schools Sydenham School for Girls and The Bridge Academy got through to the Grand Final, debating: 'Communication and people skills are more important to thrive in the workplace than academic skills'. Points made around globalisation of markets needing more communication skills and a digital workforce changing the way we must communicate resulted in The Bridge Academy being crowned Debate Mate Cup winners, in front of a packed audience of stakeholders from across industry.

We now have a deeper understanding of the moral, ethical and social issues that go hand in hand with modernisation and infrastructure. It has opened up a whole new sector of work we had not considered.

Mercy, Manon and Ada
Bridge Academy

"We have been greatly inspired. We have realised there is more to surveying than just economic gain; we now have a deeper understanding of the moral, ethical and social issues that go hand in hand with modernisation and infrastructure. It has opened up a whole new sector of work we had not considered," said Mercy, Manon and Ada from the winners, The Bridge Academy.

The diversity of the profession

As a key objective of RICS is to increase the diversity of the surveying profession, we are are proud to have partnered with Debate Mate as they work with students from under represented backgrounds. For example, 40% of students participating in Debate Mate received free schools meals (nationally this is 29% in secondary schools); 11% were on the special educational needs register (nationally 2.5%); 37% have English as an additional language (nationally 16%).

Debate Mate’s aim is to help employability of this group of young people by showcasing professions to them that they would not have considered, as well as developing core skills such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership, equipping them with the skills to get into and succeed in professional careers.

Of Debate Mate students surveyed, 40% of students would now consider a career in surveying. Given the context and demographic of the students, the vast majority probably would not have even heard of the industry before this partnership, so this is a very positive result.

Partner firms

Graduate and apprentice surveyors from firms including Arcadis, Faithful+Gould, Savills and GVA talked to students to give them real insight into the profession. The firms were so impressed with the students that several were immediately offered work placements.

In the future, we are looking at how we can work with a consortium of employers to further this successful partnership and introduce more work experience opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds. If you are interested in getting involved please email our careers team.