Mark Blair, real estate partner at the Belfast office of law firm Shoosmiths, says: “It is fair to say the last few years have provided challenges to the real estate industry, in Northern Ireland and beyond.
Putting aside issues around construction costs and infrastructure, the pandemic and resulting lockdowns severely disrupted cultures and relationships, both at a personal and corporate level, the legacy of which we are continuing to work through as a society.
“But while many aspects of our working habits have been forced to change and evolve into a ‘new normal’, one truism endures — that people remain central to the future of the real estate industry.
“And although we have all been forced to digitalise our working practices while, at the same time, striving to boost performance levels, the importance of maintaining relationships, both within organisations and across the industry, cannot be deprioritised.
“As the connecting tissue of the industry, real estate agents are essential stakeholders in the deals that are done, helping to bring to market transformational schemes and investment opportunities that have the power to revive our towns and cities.”
Shoosmiths is sponsoring the Young Agent of the Year category at this year’s Belfast Telegraph Property Awards to acknowledge the role of agents and the importance of celebrating the young talent that will have an integral role in driving the real estate industry forward, offering new ideas and fresh thinking.
Technology, sustainability, social value, connectivity, use of space — each are examples of themes which offer huge opportunity for the industry and massive scope for innovation.
Mark says: “Living through a period of such rapid change, it is more important than ever to nurture our people and to celebrate our young talent.
“The next generation of leaders will need to drive this innovation even further and to accommodate and accelerate the changes we are seeing.
“We need to encourage them, to support training, to inspire invention, to bring people together and to appreciate the richness of roles right across the real estate industry.
“The next generation of agents will play a key role in the future of our industry, and the future of work.
“We need to provide a platform to help them succeed.
“Shoosmiths is a proud supporter of the Belfast Telegraph Property Awards and pleased to sponsor the Young Agent of the Year category.”
To enter, go to www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/propertyawards/enter