In the week following mental health awareness ‘MHA’ it is clear that many across the surveying profession and the wider built environment are experiencing [and in some cases becoming quite overwhelmed by] many of the current challenges engulfing our daily existence. Presented by a general lack of security be that from one’s employment situation or the wider ongoing uncertainty of economic performance across the sector, it has been brought to our attention that many DCS members are in dire need of moral support. The Board of DCS have now found ourselves in both a privileged and extremely humbling position, more importantly, one where our collective ‘outreach’ capability to respond to and positively assist others [i.e. DCS Members] in times of crisis, has been and continues to be, truly tested.
On the issue of providing appropriate solutions to our Members’ career aspirations and/or personal needs; one thing that has become and remains akin to the current provision for Black History Month, is that a single week of ‘national MHA recognition’ whilst well intentioned, simply doesn’t begin to touch the sides of what is actually required to cater for and support the myriad needs – in any meaningful and measurable way – as applicable to a Surveyor from a non-traditional background. One could argue that MHA, given its indiscriminate approach to any human being, should have all-year-round recognition as does its rather regrettable, medical applicability.
In fact, it is fast becoming an emerging pattern of interest [and much concern] that many professionals – particularly those from the BAME community, across a number of disciplines – are currently feeling a disproportionate level of ‘exposure to risk’ of falling into depression or other equally important health related issue. And, if unattended for a prolonged period of time, these same medical ailments could potentially evolve into something much more challenging to address for the individual(s) and, quite possibly, their current employer, if not self-employed. From our evidence and most recent communications, the most susceptible group of Surveying professional appears to be that of the Apprentice / AssocRICS candidates; and of course they are the future of our profession.
And, as if to further substantiate the dire need to forward fund and maintain suitable levels of priority, it was most disappointing to observe that the CITB, via Sarah Beale, CEO – announced just last week, that all previously funded projects related to a diversity initiative, were to be withdrawn; see here. Whilst that decision can only be construed as an act of wholesale regression, we do sympathise with the need for the CITB [like many other businesses] to do whatever is necessary to ensure that they maintain their commercial existence [and relevance], and at DCS we are bracing ourselves for other similar acts to take effect. It is a well-known fact, that the socio-economic agenda has always received a ‘lesser priority’ during any recessionary period(s), and apparently we have arrived at the worst economic recession, held since public records began.
With the above in mind, alongside other pressing concerns precipitated by the current COVID19 pandemic, these are clearly increasingly challenging times for everyone, particularly those professionals, where even the most experienced amongst us have, in many ways, begun to question their own levels of resilience. The official website that promotes mental health as an illness, offers much by way of resources; see here. Notwithstanding, the theme for MHA/2020 was ‘kindness’ and never before has such sentiment been considered with such singular priority and necessity in the midst of a global state of emergency. To this end, we would also like to take this opportunity to confirm a new addition to our Leadership Team and appointment to the DCS Board…..
“We are delighted to announce that Nikki Bulteel, BSc MAODL MRICS SFHEA, has joined the Board of DiverseCity Surveyors. Nikki is a chartered surveyor working as Student Outreach Manager at University College of Estate Management where she leads on the widening participation strategy for the organisation. Nikki is passionate about bringing diversity and equality of opportunity to the Surveying profession; we are looking forward to building a collaborative and energetic working relationship between DCS and UCEM…..” _ Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS, DCS Founder & Chairman.
There are several common denominators between DCS and UCEM, one of which is the fact that both have a growing BAME contingent that is desirous of meeting fellow BAME members & practitioners, and learning from those who have industry level perspective(s) and influence. On the topic of influence, it is also heartening to note that the incumbent Chairman Designate to the Board of Trustees at UCEM, is none other than the networking extraordinaire and PPRICS, Amanda Clack FRICS, Head of Strategic Advisory at the world’s largest real estate, professional services firm, CBRE. We very much look forward to reaching out to Amanda, in the coming months, as we begin to reshape our social media footprint.
Above all, there is a genuine appetite from the UCEM BAME contingent, to engage with industry practitioners who remain willing to share those real-life / lived experiences with them. Additionally, with a growing international footprint and completely virtual ‘academic’ offer, as aligned to our own effort which seeks to ensure that our future DCS Virtual Academy is a sustainable [and global] success, with CPD and other #gamechanging criteria remaining at its core. As part of our ongoing commitment to our Members, we are very keen and incredibly excited to welcome Nikki to the DCS team.
PS: we are also keen to receive ‘expressions of interest’ from younger members of the Surveying profession who are social media savvy and happy to volunteer their time to support the team here at DCS; the quid-quo-pro being an opportunity to develop themselves and network across Senior Level talent and expertise; we look forward to hearing from any budding volunteers……………!!