The long-term viability of any industry depends on its people and its access to new talent; the office sector is no different
The British Council for Offices (BCO) recognises the role that the next generation of talent can play in furthering the ambitions of our sector – whether they are creating, acquiring, or occupying office space.
The BCO established BCO NextGen; a group for young professionals working in the commercial property sector, where ideas can be shared, knowledge developed, and a network of contacts created with other members across the country.
NextGen members can benefit from a wealth of talent across the wider BCO membership by attending an array of events, such as coffee gatherings and other social and professional get-togethers.
Crucially, NextGen members can help to shape the future of the industry and influence debate and discussion affecting the sector, as well as connecting with like-minded peers and industry leaders.
“Creating a professional network and amplifying careers is a major focus of the NextGen,” says Andy Campbell, Chair of the BCO NextGen London and Southeast Committee. “It has been brilliant to see so many embracing these opportunities over the past two years.”
The BCO NextGen community is growing fast, up more than a quarter over the past year to more than 1,000 members and is now a third of the total BCO membership.
The agenda for BCO NextGen this year focused on four main areas: Carbon in Action, Social Equity, Tech-enabled Workspaces and The Human Experience. This, in turn, inspired the themes for BCO NextGen’s annual Ideas Project, which had a brilliant turnout and brought some really innovative design ideas to the table, whilst shining a light on rising talent in the industry.
BCO added a twist to this year’s prize; six inspiring young leaders were awarded public speaking training with Ginger Leadership Communications, and at the Finalist Showcase we enjoyed incredible TED Talks from each one of them.
Other key initiatives this year included Market Updates from Savills and Cushman & Wakefield, a series of inspiring Building Talks and Tours, and the opportunity to take part in Coffee Roulette with an Industry Leader.
BCO also launched a NextGen Cycling Club this year which meets on a weekly basis in London. Taking this forward, the BCO’s next annual conference, to be held in Dublin in 2023, will include a cycling element, subsidised for the first time to encourage more NextGen members to join in.
The work of BCO NextGen committees around the country is crucial to the organisation’s success. Steph Calder, Chair of the BCO NextGen Southwest Committee is keen to highlight the quality events that have been organised by proactive and enthusiastic committee members: “We are consciously planning events outside the borders of Bristol to explore a broader cross-section of our region.”
The theme of “community” has been explored on both a macro and micro level by the BCO NextGen Scotland Committee. Its Chair, Neal Hemingway, explains: “On a micro level a clear trend is that community and culture is a key driver for people returning to the office. On a macro level workplace is being considered as a catalyst in the recovery of high streets and local communities.”
Just as people are drawn to the office for that sense of community, the BCO’s NextGen members have been eager to reconnect through a series of in-person events, notably the BCO NextGen Awards ceremony.
The BCO NextGen Awards are a clear example of the BCO’s commitment to bring people together and continue to go from strength to strength, with this year’s ceremony proving to be one of the most successful in the event’s seven-year history, with more than 400 attendees.
The BCO introduced a new category for 2022, the Diversity and Inclusion Champion of the Year. This was won by Suzan Ucmaklioglu, who impressed the judges with their commitment to creating positive change in the built environment.
Commenting on the importance of the industry welcoming and celebrating all people, Steph Calder says: “Meaningful change, removing barriers and challenging the status-quo doesn’t happen without passionate, driven people.”
The winners of the BCO NextGen Awards certainly demonstrate the drive and commitment to overcome such challenges and forge innovative practices across the sector in the years to come.
For more information, please visit: bco.org.uk
Images courtesy of British Council of Offices