The Chancerygate Foundation: Trailblazing in the property sector

Amanda Walker Foundation Director
Read time: 4 mins
Category: Innovate
The Chancerygate Foundation: Trailblazing in the property sector

Read time: 4 mins
Category: Innovate

Established in 2020 by Chancerygate founder Andrew Johnson and his wife Vanzel Johnson, the Chancerygate Foundation’s purpose is to address the lack of diversity within the property sector.

Through its work, the Foundation provides financial and personal support to British African and Caribbean young people to ensure they can first access a career in property and then thrive within it.

As the first initiative of its kind focused on British African and Caribbean people, the Foundation and the individuals it supports are trailblazers who want to ensure lasting, positive change in the property sector.

In this article, we explore why, and how, the Chancerygate Foundation is doing the work that it does.

Creating a diverse and inclusive property sector

Today, many sectors are increasingly prioritising diversity and inclusion in their environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

However, this is a significant challenge for the property sector. Last year, only one per cent of RICS members who qualified identified as black and they make up just two per cent of total members.

Traditionally, access to a career in property depended heavily on factors such as schools attended, socio-economic background and existing networks within the sector.

These same factors also contribute to preventing people from minority backgrounds reaching senior management positions.

Without action, there is a risk of no real, or sustainable, progress being made to ensure long-term diversity and inclusion within the property sector.

It is this situation which the work of the Chancerygate Foundation intends to help remedy and, in doing so, drive meaningful and lasting change.

Commercial and societal benefit

It is clear that implementing robust diversity and inclusion strategies create significant commercial benefits.

They enable organisations to utilise the skills of a broader range of talents with different lived experiences and viewpoints. This, in turn, creates a more dynamic workplace culture where people’s individuality, and the skills and insight they have, is key to delivering positive commercial outcomes.

We see direct evidence of this at the Foundation. For example, one student we support would like a career in property to improve the lived experiences of those who come from a similar background and are often subject to poor housing conditions.

An effective diversity and inclusion strategy can also be a commercial differentiator against competitors, with socially responsible clients wanting to collaborate with organisations that share their values.

Opening doors

The Foundation works with British African and Caribbean students studying RICS-accredited courses to help them get a strong start to their career and prepare them for success.

This sees us directly involved with students as they plot their career choices. In addition, we help them gain work experience in the property sector, particularly those who have had no prior opportunity to do so.

The Foundation recognises that, for many of these students, going on to study for a degree will be a daunting prospect as they will often be the first in their families to go to university.

This can mean they do not necessarily have access to the support their student peers benefit from, including financial assistance.

One of the fundamental elements of the Foundation’s activity is our bursary programme which provides up to £10,000 per annum, per student towards their living costs.

This level of financial support can give them the confidence and security to commit to further studies without being required to take on any outside jobs to pay their way through university and potentially put their studies at risk.

Sharing insights and experience

In addition to financial support, the Foundation also works to ensure students have access to guidance.

This is delivered by our mentoring programme which provides a combination of academic, personal and professional support for the students.

Each student is paired up with a member of the Chancerygate team and our affiliates who act as a mentor. Drawing on their experience and insights, each mentor provides students with advice through their studies and when they are considering their career plans.

The Foundation director acts as a hub for all connected parties, students, mentors and academic institutions, ensuring that when challenges or opportunities arise, advice is available.

Lessons not learnt at school

Complementing the opportunities created by the Foundation are our efforts to ensure students develop the “soft skills” required to have a successful career in property while maintaining their identity.

Students from underrepresented backgrounds might not have had exposure to these skills compared to those who traditionally dominate the sector as they are skills which cannot be taught in a classroom.

They comprise understanding the world of business and property, observing professional standards and developing the interpersonal skills and confidence needed for networking and negotiating.

By focusing on this, it helps us develop well-rounded students with soft skills equal to those of their peers when they start their careers.

Trailblazers don’t stop

Many of Chancerygate’s peers have recognised the Foundation’s importance and have praised its work to curate success in those it supports.

We are proud that the Foundation and the students it supports are regarded as trailblazers. However, we know the Foundation must continue to build upon the momentum we have achieved and be focused on delivering more diversity within the UK property sector.

The Chancerygate Foundation works with a range of industry partners including universities, schools and businesses in property and real estate. To find out more or discuss any opportunities, call Amanda Walker on M: 07703344043 or E: 

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