This year, our CBRE graduates achieved a 100% pass rate on their APC assessment and chartered surveyor exams. This in itself is an achievement, but what is more remarkable is that in the midst of a pandemic, this was all achieved virtually.

Kevin McLean

Kevin McLean

People are the lifeblood of our business, and while I am adamant that nothing can replace human interaction, as virtual working became the new norm we had to act quickly to ensure the future of our Next Generation programmes.

With the capabilities of technology, we very quickly managed to identify and implement new ways of learning for our young people. Our RICS APC training swiftly went fully virtual and no lessons were missed. We have had really positive feedback from this year’s cohort, and constant dialogue with RICS helped it improve and adjust its virtual offering.

Our HR team arranged twice-weekly check-in calls for the cohort to talk about wellbeing and business updates and to serve as a forum for any questions. Additionally, our HR team completed more than 40 hours of one-to-one or group-learning Zoom time to help assist with the graduates’ development.

Online meeting

Source: Shutterstock/ Girts Ragelis

The cohort itself has been admirably resilient and much of this can be put down to a change in mindset and really embracing agility. It even raised an impressive £1,700 for charity by covering enough miles to get from London to LA by walking, cycling and running for Action for Children.

This year, we issued a virtual welcome into our business to a further 44 graduates, and while we look forward to a time when we can all return to the office and allow the face-to-face interaction that is so important for career development, the virtues of going virtual and allowing our grads to progress through the business at this time cannot be underestimated.

Kevin McLean is head of talent, learning and development at CBRE