Two new faces for Garness Jones team as senior staff take university students under their wings

Toby Nieuwkerk and Matthew Proctor

Commercial property specialists Garness Jones has added two university students who have set their sights on careers in commercial property and surveying to its team.

Matthew Proctor, 22, and Toby Nieuwkerk, 20, have been taken under the wing of experienced chartered surveyors within the firm to help them learn on the job, dealing with clients and contracts on a day to day basis.

Matthew has been handed the full-time role of graduate surveyor, starting what will hopefully be a three year road to becoming a fully qualified chartered surveyor, working under the stewardship of agency surveyor and industrial property expert Chris Hyam.

He is assisting with everything from valuations and viewings to carrying out inspections and completing reports, and says he has been thrilled with the level of responsibility handed to him.

“It is a really steep learning curve to be given this kind of opportunity and one I am delighted to have at a well-established and respected company,” he said.

“I had done some work experience last year and David Garness told me to get back in touch should I wish to pursue a career in this area, which I did, and he was good to his word and offered me this role.

“I have joined the business in what are obviously very different times and I have actually been surprised at how busy things have been, and the amount of business being done in property locally.

“The role also enables me to get out and meet people, and to conduct viewings. I like that fact the work is always at a good pace, and there is always an element of pressure as things need to be progressing for clients at all times.

“I’ve certainly quickly learned the need to pay attention to the finest detail and triple check things. That is something you can’t really learn until you are doing the job and working for clients.

“I’ve recently been given the responsibility for managing a number of property estates also, in which I’ve handled everything with Chris having an overview from arms’ length, and that has been really good for my confidence and development.”

For Toby, the next year at Garness Jones on a student placement will count towards his studies at Sheffield Hallam University, and towards his Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

He will return to studies two days a week next year, spending the remaining three days a week at Garness Jones.

He says he has already learned a great deal under the leadership of Paul White, agency director for the firm’s retail, office and leisure property work.

“I really enjoy being given the opportunity to meet new people, learn about their businesses and find ways of helping them grow and develop,” he said.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of work on the legal side of deals so far, which has been very interesting, and even things such as valuations, and how they are conducted, are very different to what you learn in studies.

“It is brilliant to have an opportunity to learn in a real business environment and be mentored by people with years of experience and knowledge.”

David Garness, managing director of Garness Jones, said: “Matt and Toby have already proved excellent additions to the business as they are enthusiastic and diligent in their work and keen not only to learn the industry, but provide an excellent service to our clients.

“As a business we are pride ourselves on being completely dedicated to providing solutions and support to property owners and businesses, and Matthew and Toby have been able to see that evidenced as we have continued to achieve great results for clients in a really challenging environment.

“I am pleased to say they have both already demonstrated through their approach to their roles, and the excellent feedback we have had from our clients, that they can have good futures in this industry.

“It has been an interesting time for Matthew and Toby to have joined the business. Over the past six months we have worked tirelessly to ensure our business has operated as successfully as possible and we have achieved incredible results through our desire and dedication.

“I think seeing that first hand will stand them in good stead for their careers.”