“I’ve been given an amazing opportunity and it’s blown away my expectations”

It’s National Apprenticeship Week and in this article, we’ve heard from George McKimm, a HBD apprentice who’s learning ‘on the job’ and helping us to create places with purpose.

Hi George, how did you find out about the role at HBD and what was the process of getting the apprenticeship with HBD?

My college invited a few of us for a tour of the Kampus scheme in Manchester – followed by a presentation on HBD where we heard about its hunt for an apprentice.

I was given a promotional flyer which looked interesting, so I took the plunge and applied. The application questionnaire really helped me think about what I wanted from an apprenticeship and if I would be a good fit for the role.

The interview consisted of two stages, the first being a group assessment day packed full of activities and tasks designed to make you really think like a developer. After making it through this stage, I was invited to a panel interview with members of HBD.

Overall, the process was great and enabled HBD to make an informed and accurate decision on who would be the best fit for the position as well as providing the candidates with lots of information about the role and a career in real estate development.

Tell us about your time so far at HBD?
It’s just so good and has blown my expectations out of the water. I’ve been given real responsibility and an amazing opportunity to build and start to develop a prosperous and fulfilling career.

Your mentor is our colleague Dean Thompson in Manchester; how has he supported your learning and development?
Dean’s involvement has been really key to my progress, ensuring I get the support of the wider Manchester team – every one of them has been really helpful, providing advice and helping me build my knowledge and experience.

Dean’s at the forefront of that, ensuring I’m involved and always making sure that I’m doing something that’s going to enhance my learning. I’ve been able to meet so many people and learn so much through the help and support Dean has given, encouraging me to make new connections with people whenever I can.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned so far?
I’ve learned so much about appraising potential schemes working with colleagues like Katie McManus, Richard Hinds, Sarah Gill and Luca Buono, all showing me how to do this accurately and effectively.

I really do love seeing how a scheme is assessed in its infancy, how we make it feasible and how it will make a difference.

And can you pick a favourite HBD place?
It’s hard not to love them all but if I had to pick I’d say Kampus because this is the one that started it all for me and made me realise that I did want to pursue a career in property.

It highlights how unique HBD is, what sets us apart from other developers and how we think outside of the box. From the incorporation of the charted structures in the scheme to the use of a concept architect from the Netherlands to bring a creative and fresh perspective the Manchester skyline, it has been an amazing journey to watch the transformation of this incredible site.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to secure an apprenticeship?
Go for it! Make sure that you are in it for the long haul and that you do want a career in the industry as an apprenticeship will be exciting but challenging and at times may put you in a position where you feel a bit of your depth, but that’s OK as you need to do that to learn at pace.

As long as you are set on the goal of having a career in property and understand what it is you are looking for it will be more than rewarding and is a great opportunity to enter this exciting sector.

It’s important to come at it with an open mind and be ready to challenge and push yourself.

Building connections and profile raising is absolutely key in the property industry so make sure you are prepared to put yourself in uncomfortable and sometimes awkward situations. This will soon become less daunting and will disappear quicker than you would imagine, and you will start to understand the value that being placed in these situations will bring.