David Bucknall Scholarship helps put sisters on joint career path

In September BMet student, Monique Hall-Smith, will be taking her first steps on the path to a career in the property and construction industry with the help of the David Bucknall Scholarship.

The scholarship was set up in memory of David Bucknall - one of Birmingham’s most influential property professionals.  Funded by private donations from David’s friends and colleagues, the scholarship is run by Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) in partnership with Birmingham City University (BCU). It offers a combination of financial support, mentoring and work experience to a student embarking on studies in a built-environment subject.  The award scheme also offers a number of other selected students an unconditional place at BCU, with reduced fees.

As the David Bucknall Scholar, Monique will receive a financial contribution of £10,500 over three years’ study plus guaranteed work placements and mentoring from the RLB Birmingham team.  Monique will be joined at BCU by her twin Tamaya who, with Elliot Jones of South Bromsgrove High School and Matthew Carter of Windsor High School and Sixth Form in Halesowen, receives one of the runner-up awards. As part of their submission, each entrant created a video about a building which interested them and this led to the interview process.

Both Elliot and Matthew will study building surveying, whilst Monique and Tamayah have chosen to take a degree course in real estate. As Monique explains: “I’ve always had a dream of working in real estate, buying and selling properties.  Initially, Tamayah and I were thinking of doing two different courses with a view to one day coming together to create our own business.  However, we discovered that the real estate course is very open and allows you to choose a number of different directions to follow within the property world so we felt that would give us more options.”

The David Bucknall Scholarship is open to school and college leavers – from selected regional institutions – who are aiming to study at BCU for a BSc or BEng in a built-environment subject.

Congratulating Monique on becoming the second David Bucknall Scholar, RLB Birmingham managing partner, Adam Ellis-Morgan says: “We were impressed by all of the students who applied for the scheme this year but Monique stood out for the strength of her focus on a career in property.  She has a clear vision of what she would like to achieve which David Bucknall would have applauded and we look forward to working with and supporting her as she progresses through her degree course.”

Jenny North, Head of Careers and Employment at BMet added: “We champion initiatives where education and industry work together to help future generations achieve their career ambitions.  This scholarship is a great launch pad for Monique.” 

Describing her reaction to the news that she had won the scholarship, Monique says: “I read the email telling me I had won but didn’t quite believe it.  I told my Mum that I thought I had won but asked her to read it to make sure I’d got it right.  I had to read it about five times before it finally sank in!  This scholarship is going to make a big difference.  I’m sure the RLB team’s guidance and mentoring will give me valuable insights as well as help me evaluate my options and perhaps present other opportunities too. I’ll be sure to share it all with Tamayah.”