RLB brings on Birmingham networking for the new millennials

The face of business networking is changing and helping to drive that change in Birmingham is Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) with RLB Innovators, a business networking group for members under the age of 35.

RLB Innovators has been created by and for RLB’s early career professionals to encourage them to reach out to their peers in the property and construction industry and build their own strategic network of contacts across the business community.

Part of an initiative to engage its younger generation in business networking that extends across RLB’s London and Manchester offices, the Birmingham group is currently 25-strong. The majority of RLB Innovators members are employed in construction and property advisory services disciplines, including quantity surveying, building surveying and project management.

In professional circles, business networking has always been highly valued for the opportunity it offers to make new contacts, get the inside track on upcoming deals and making a name for yourself. While the inherent value of associating with like-minded business professionals remains unchanged, today’s generation is looking for more than just the chance to swap business cards over a long dinner with a few speeches.

This is why RLB has established Birmingham Innovators to give its younger team members the opportunity to forge their own links in ways they find comfortable and modern. The group meets once a quarter in a relaxed environment with their contemporaries from the firm’s client base who are also aged under 35.

RLB senior quantity surveyor, Mike Thompson, co-ordinates RLB Innovators and says:

“As young professionals, we are keen to build up our own network of contacts and clients across the Midland business scene. When you are starting out, it can be difficult to break into established networks which are often dominated by seasoned professionals who have known each other for many years.

“We felt it was time to take a more dynamic approach to enable the new generation of professionals to break in and create their own networks, in their own way. Because we are at the start of our careers, we are looking for opportunities that enable us to expand our range of contacts at the same time as learning and sharing knowledge. RLB Innovators gives us the opportunity to build relationships with our counterparts within client companies and other industry professionals in an environment where we all feel comfortable.”

For RLB, the Innovators Group represents another strand of its strategy to nurture young talent. The firm is officially recognised as being a Top Employer by the Top Employers Institute. Having received the award for the eighth time, the award takes into account factors such as providing excellent employment conditions and a willingness to nurture and develop talent at all levels.

RLB has also established the Rider Levett Bucknall Futures Board to harness ideas and initiatives specifically from its young leaders. Younger staff are encouraged to actively participate in professional bodies such as the RICS QS and Construction West Midlands Committee, Generation 4 Change (G4C), RICS Matrics, FBE-Forum For Tomorrow and BCO Nextgen.

RLB Innovators events to date have included cocktail parties and a beer brewing evening. Plans for the coming year include a night at the dogs in Birmingham and a modern take on the round table with an informal approach to hot topic discussions. The group also hopes to extend invitations to other young professionals across the region.

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