OBI Academy launches to ‘nurture rising stars’

11 November 2019

Manchester headquartered commercial real estate consultancy OBI has launched its own training academy in a bid to attract new talent.

OBI has handpicked four members of staff to participate in its inaugural academy, which is designed to also nurture and retain the best by offering postgraduate courses, apprenticeships, work experience placements and the RICS accredited Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

Ollie Chadwick, 19, and Nicola Woods, 27, are now on course to respectively complete BSc Professional Practice in Building Surveying and MSC Project Management in Construction courses around their current roles within the OBI operation. While Alex Morton, Transactions and Asset Management, and Kate Demmerling, Workplace Consultancy, are currently part-time in the Academy following initial work placements.

It comes after OBI last year transacted 42% of the total office space in Manchester city centre and recently expanded into Leeds.

According to Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Bisby, OBI will take on one graduate and one apprentice each year, as part of a longer-term recruitment strategy linked to growth plans.

She said: “Over several years 14 graduates and college students have completed work experience placements, which have led to both part-time employment around their studies and also full-time employment.

“With that in mind, alongside our collection of services known as the ‘OBI Difference’, it led us to the launch of the Academy which will strengthen our links with local colleges and universities including Sheffield Hallam, the University of Salford, Liverpool John Moores and Leeds Beckett, ultimately enabling us to attract the best talent and then nurture their progression and growth within OBI.”

She added: “We believe that if we get people in early, all the way through to when they are chartered, we create our own pipeline for talent.”

OBI currently employs 32 people and provides advice to clients across its multi-discipline services, which include leasing and investment, office acquisitions, business relocations, interior design, project management and dilapidations.

The multi-award-winning real estate consultancy earlier this year launched spin-off business Studio OBI, an integrated creative agency providing branding, marketing materials, online platforms, video and CGIs for its clients.

Ollie, 19, a former lifeguard from Stockport who studied at Poynton Sixth Form, said: “I feel very lucky that OBI is backing me to complete my BSc Professional Practice in Building Surveying for one day-a-week over the next five years.

“I applied to study Civil Engineering at University, but I wasn’t sure it was the right path.

“After gaining work experience in OBI’s Building Consultancy team I was offered a role and feel I’m now in a great position to grow and upskill.” Workplace consultant Nicola studied Interior Architecture and Design at the University of Lincoln and joined OBI from a London-based architectural practice two years ago.

She said: “I have definitely grown since joining OBI and over the past 12 months have been given autonomy to run my own projects.

“After talking to management about my desire to be a project manager and to ultimately work across Workplace Consultancy, Interior Design, while supporting the Building Consultancy team I am now enrolled on MSC Project Management in Construction.

“I now know I’m going to be here for four years at least and I’m excited about it,” added Nicola. “I’m dedicating myself to OBI and OBI has dedicated itself to me which says a lot about positive culture and the future of the OBI Academy.”

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