30/10/2020 • What we believe

"Mentoring creates a triple-win" - Darragh Hurley on Makers & Mentors

At the end of September, Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor of London and our MD, Darragh Hurley introduced our industry to Mentoring by Makers & Mentors. Inspired by an idea from our Development Director, Emma Foster it's the latest part of our work to help make our industry better and more open.

By Darragh Hurley, MD of Mount Anvil

The new places we create as an industry are often the result of tens of thousands of decisions, made by hundreds of people working as part of multi-disciplinary teams. And my personal experience and a lot of great research shows that teams that benefit from diverse perspectives perform better than teams of people with similar experiences. My favourite example is from a study by a top US business school about that lockdown staple – solving complex murder mysteries, with a full set of alibis, suspects, witness statements and clues. This study compared two types of teams. The first group consisted of groups of four friends and the second group of three friends along with a stranger – an outsider, someone with a different perspective. The teams included the stranger solved the murder 50% more often than the team of all friends.

Mentoring creates a triple-win. It widens our industry’s talent pool, helps level the playing field for young people and also fosters connections between people who may not usually connect. And it seems to have really ignited excitement amongst experienced industry people – I was overjoyed to see the calibre and breadth of mentors from across our industry that have stepped up and volunteered their time - more than 130 and counting, from site managers and development managers to CEO’s and insiders at London boroughs. It’s a privilege to be able to play our small role as connector, linking curious people together and holding space in which they can learn from each other.   

The GLA are our partner for Makers & Mentors, with Tom Copley spearheading the initiative from within City Hall. It’s our second partnership with them this year, and both have had inclusion and growth for London at their core.  Our financial collaboration is designed to address the London housing crisis through the delivery of 1,400 new homes by April 2025. The GLA’s involvement is also part of its commitment to address the skills gap in London – as Tom rightly said at the launch, ‘when someone is not able to progress because of barriers such as financial reasons or discrimination, it’s not just those people that lose out personally, it’s the whole of society, because we miss out on that talent, experience and knowledge – and I think programmes like Makers & Mentors can really help to address those barriers.’.  We’re delighted that this is seen as a worthy addition to the suite of initiatives the Mayor leads on around skills, like The Mayor’s Construction Academy (MCA) hubs and the Covid-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce. 

The programme is open to everyone from architects to those on working on site, including planners, ecologists and communication staff; our ambition is for it to better the whole industry and support individuals in their career path. It starts with a partially anonymised and photograph-free application process to inhibit unconscious bias and make the more unlikely connections across the industry happen.  The only requirement is for mentors and mentees to be over 18 and be willing to commit an hour a month for six months.  

Makers & Mentors gives each of us the chance to learn and to contribute to equality of opportunity for all Londoners, so I feel a great sense of excitement around it.  We’re committed to London – we only work here. And we work in repeat partnerships with housing associations and local authorities who also care deeply about the legacy we leave for future Londoners.  If you’re looking to join the industry, grow your career, or give back, head to makersandmentors.mountanvil.com to get involved.