Sport helps you learn a great deal about yourself. It pushes you to your limits, and reveals some of the best elements of your personality that don’t always come to light in other aspects of life.
As a former rugby player, I know first hand that sport - especially rugby - has the potential to unlock skills that really set a candidate apart, not just in the property industry but across all businesses.
I’ve worked with, employed and interviewed countless young people throughout my 25 years in the property industry, and one of the things that resonates with me most is the remarkable difference I see in candidates who have sport on their CV.
That’s why, in a significant year for rugby, I’m proud that CBRE has become principal partner of England Rugby’s All Schools, a programme that is increasing rugby union participation by introducing rugby and its core values to 750 state secondary schools by 2019 and leaving a positive legacy for a million children. Last season saw 130,000 young people enjoy the sport, including 43,000 girls - an incredible legacy to help deliver.
Knowing how significant participation in sport can be in building vital workplace skills, we want to help facilitate a way of bringing the opportunity to do so to a diverse range of young people, often from challenging and difficult backgrounds.
A number of ambassadors from CBRE, including me, are helping to deliver the programme by volunteering as coaches and referees at local clubs and schools around the country.
These young people are developing tools that will stay with them for their whole career, such as confidence, determination and teamwork, while we increase the awareness of the property market as a career option and broaden their outlook on the industry.
Having seen the programme in action, it’s been hugely rewarding to see young people not only being active and developing skills and qualities that will help them in later life, but also taking an interest in the property industry and considering future career options. Some of those taking part in the programme have even had the chance to apply these skills in a real-life work environment and gain work experience in the property industry at CBRE.
With 738,000 unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK, and a growing number of graduates looking for jobs, employers need to take a proactive approach to mobilise this talent pool. Rugby can help achieve this.
Sport is the ultimate enabler and barrier breaker. It is non-discriminatory and it celebrates the participation and achievement of all, which, if we can translate into diversity and inclusion in the property industry and beyond, can only mean great things for us all.
We need our sector to identify the very best prospects to meet future demands - and address current skills gaps. Critical to this is recruitment from the widest and most diverse talent pool. Who knows, a future leader of the property industry could currently be playing flanker in the junior leagues of your local club…
Ciaran Bird is UK managing director of CBRE
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