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REIQ Journal : June 2008
e 11 Jonathan O’Brien and Stephen Conry have more in common that just their ages. They attended the same high school and started their careers in commercial real estate at the same firm. And since that time they have both worked their way up the ladder to be living proof of the opportunities available for young agents in this sector of the industry. JONATHAN IS THE principal licensee of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) Brisbane, and an REIQ director, while Stephen is the Queensland managing director and international director of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). And they are both still in their early 40s. Although the industry may have changed over the years, some things have stayed the same. Both Jonathan and Stephen completed property valuation degrees part-time while getting on-the-job training in the industry. Today, the degree might be called property economics, but many young agents continue this historical path into the industry by completing graduate programs at large firms while studying part-time for their degrees. CBRE and JLL both have cadet and graduate programs which, Jonathan says, are vital to the industry. “Before the grad program it was very hard to find well-trained, well-educated agents. We’ve found it’s a lot easier to grow your own, than trying to buy them,” he says. Jonathan says as well as having a tertiary education, the graduate program enables young agents to not only sample different aspects of the industry but to be mentored along the way. “Investors are becoming so astute, the product is such a specialised product that you have to be the equivalent of a valuer,” he says. “To be on par with analysts, with fund managers that are buying and selling these properties, to talk the same language, you have to have a very good grounding in property.” Commercial property has long provided a very real and tangible career path for young agents and this is no different in the new millennium. REIQ Journal June 2008