Posted Thursday 25 November 2021
A building surveying student has been awarded a bursary to support her through her studies at Kingston University from not-for-profit initiative and registered charity the Chancerygate Foundation.
First year student Oluwakemi (Kemi) Omoyele will receive £10,000 for each year of study as well as mentorship and work experience through the charitable scheme, set up to support students from Black African or Black Caribbean backgrounds to build long-term careers within the property industry. The Chancerygate Foundation was formed by Andrew Johnson, Chairman and founder of industrial developer and asset manager Chancerygate.
Kemi, who is of Nigerian heritage, was first introduced to the real estate world through her grandfather, a property developer. Her interest grew when she started an apprenticeship with estate agents Marlow Estates and, as her responsibilities increased, Kemi began looking into opportunities for taking her career to the next level. Adept with numbers, she realised building surveying ticked many of the boxes she was looking for.
"After speaking to other surveying students on online forums, I heard some really good things about the course at Kingston University," she said. "What really appealed to me was the fact it had a reputation for being supportive and it reassured me if I needed help it would be available."
Having heard about a bursary available through the Chancerygate Foundation, Kemi decided to apply – and having been successful, is hoping it will help provide new avenues to learn and develop as well as taking away some of the pressures outside of her university life.
"I feel like it's really setting me up to succeed," she said. "I don't have to worry about putting so much time into working alongside my studies. Having to do that in college slowed me down, but I'm ready to work hard and focus on my course 100 per cent. The mentoring support is going to be hugely valuable while the work experience will help me grow my CV and hopefully give me an edge when it comes to applying for jobs once I graduate."
Launched last year, the Chancerygate Foundation was founded to help foster a more inclusive and diverse UK real estate sector where people from Black African or Black Caribbean backgrounds can thrive and succeed. With only one per cent of the 35,306 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) members who qualified in 2020 recorded as being of Black ethnicity, the foundation offers bursaries to qualifying students, allowing them to access RICS-accredited courses at higher education institutions.
"When you stand against the grain it puts you in a good position," Kemi said. "I'm glad to stand out – especially as a woman. You have to create opportunities for yourself. My mum is always wanting me to push myself and she wants opportunities for me that she didn't get. My sister has trodden the path before me so is great at giving advice too. I just want to achieve as much as I can and get the highest accreditation possible in my field."
Having started her studies in October, Kemi is enjoying settling into life at Kingston University. "I love it here, there is a really diverse University community and the course itself is great – I've set up a WhatsApp group for my class to get to know everyone. For anyone else wanting to pursue a career in a sector that lacks diversity, my advice would be to get stuck in and do it. Someone has to do it first to pave the way and that person could be you."