Job Swap

This week in the West End office of CBRE, Mark Collins FRICS, Chairman of CBRE’s Residential business traded places for the day with apprentice Thomas Stevens.

Thomas is part of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors team taking part in this year’s Brathay Apprentice Challenge, the search for the apprentice team of the year, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service. The job swap is one of many challenges Thomas and his team will be undertaking as they compete to reach the final.

The CBRE Apprenticeship programme was launched in 2013 and following a rigorous interview process, Thomas was one of the first apprentices to be accepted onto the pioneering scheme. Three years on, he is completing his third seat in residential and is well on way to becoming a fully qualified chartered surveyor.

Thomas commented: “I joined CBRE after finishing my GCSE’s and have not looked back since. The scheme has offered me a real career with a wealth of opportunity. I have completed seats in Capital Markets and Property Management and I am now in my residential seat, which will include a secondment to Grainger. Since joining, I have had a chance to be involved in all aspects of the property world, from pitches right through to client entertainment.

“For me the job swap was an opportunity to experience life at the top! Mark allowing me to take his role in chairing a section of the Residential Board Meeting, with some of the firm’s most senior people was no small feat. Throughout my seat in residential, Mark has been a true mentor to me and his advice and encouragement has been invaluable so I was keen to do him proud. In advance of the meeting, I prepared a presentation looking at how CBRE can improve client service in line with the firm’s mantra to exceed expectations of both clients and colleagues. The feedback from colleagues following the meeting has been really encouraging and some of my ideas on the use of technology are going to be taken forward.”

Mark commented: “I’m no stranger to the benefits of mentoring and apprentices, having started my career in 1982 (before Thomas was even born!), in agency under the expert guidance of the Senior Partner John Slatter. Shadowing John in the formative years of my career, undoubtedly helped me to get where I am today. I knew Thomas had what it took to be a surveyor, even before I found out that his grandfather is none other than the legendary footballer Tosh Chamberlain, who I had the pleasure of knowing during my tenure as Director and Chief Executive of Fulham football club.”

“For the swap, Thomas had left me an comprehensive list of tasks for the day, a comparable audit study with recommendations for business improvements, a site inspection with a full review of associated marketing materials and the third task – which I hasten to add Thomas has never undertaken – buy the whole team buns and tea!”

“Doing the job swap made me genuinely proud that I am part of a company which champions diversity and positively encourages alternative routes into the industry from a diverse talent pool. I’m very proud of everything Thomas has achieved to date. His gravitas and poise in the Board meeting is indicative how far he has come and I have no doubt he will go on to achieve great things in the future.”