The prestigious Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Matrics Awards recognise the inspirational and diverse young surveying professionals in the UK. They showcase the highest standards of professionalism and innovation within the Built Environment and provide an opportunity to identify the leaders of the future.

Class Of Your Own is honoured and proud to announce former Clacton Coastal Academy DEC student John Haylett is a shortlisted finalist for the 2021 RICS Matrics ‘Apprentice of the Year’. Here is his story…

John Haylett has lived in Jaywick, Essex, since he was 3 years old. 

Attracting headlines such as “The worst place in Britain”, and featured in the 2015 Channel 5 documentary “Benefits by the Sea”, Jaywick remains one of the most deprived UK towns. It has some of the country’s highest poverty and unemployment rates and features in many government reports that highlight the challenges for young people growing up in coastal communities.

John was one of those young people – raised in a single-parent family with no history of further or higher education and a Pupil Premium student, entitled to free school meals. He represented the growing number of “poor white boys” living in coastal towns who are among the least likely to go to university.

Setting out on the DEC pathway

As a teenager, John wasn’t sure what he wanted from a career, only that he wanted his life to be different from that portrayed by the media.

‘Design Engineer Construct!’ (DEC) was introduced to Clacton Coastal Academy in 2013 by former Executive Principal Stephen Chamberlain and former Principal Tracey Hemming.

John was intrigued. He knew nothing about the Construction industry, but visionary teacher Sam Hodge (now teaching DEC in Malaysia!), presented this new STEM subject as something extraordinary, and exciting leading to great career prospects.

Little did John realise his decision to opt for DEC within his GCSE choices would set him off on an incredible journey. Achieving a grade ‘A’, he progressed to sixth form where he continued to study DEC at Level 3. 

Not only did John have the support of headteacher Stephanie Neill and exceptional teacher in Sam Hodge, he had former Atkins, now Concertus’ Gary Knight and Ingleton Wood’s Laura Mansel-Thomas as mentors. John was also selected to access dedicated work experience each week within Ingleton Wood’s Building Surveying department, where he thrived.

An emerging champion

John won Class Of Your Own’s ‘Jamie’s Italian’ AND ‘Home for Everyone’ Design Challenges, receiving huge plaudits from judges including Jamie Oliver and Jamie’s Construction Director Gavin Beesley, BEPE Project Lead Julie Fleck, RICS’ Tony Burton and the Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP.

John learning from Gavin Beesley MRICS, Construction Director at Jamie’s Italian, 2016

He has spoken at many industry events, from the Design Quality Conference and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, to the House of Lords and British Council. He has championed the Built Environment as a fantastic industry for young people to explore and appealed to leaders of industry to give other young people the same life chances.

In 2018, John achieved grade A* for his Level 3 DEC portfolio and exam and was subsequently offered a Building Surveying Degree Apprenticeship with Atkins and Anglia Ruskin University.

John, with best friend and fellow DEC student Sam, meet The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP at the Design Quality conference, 2018

John presenting at the House of Lords, 2017

RICS Matrics Nomination

Class Of Your Own had the opportunity to nominate John Haylett as RICS Young Surveyor of the Year and we leapt on it. To now be informed he has been shortlisted as ‘Apprentice of the Year’ is wonderful. He has achieved so much in his young life through his own extraordinary commitment and relentless determination to break the mould and challenge media stereotypes.

When COYO’s founder, Alison Watson, rang John to give him the news, he was speechless! He followed up with the following text: 

“I am so grateful for these opportunities and I feel awesome right now! I have so many people to tell!!! Thank you so much for everything – I am truly lucky to have had so much support.”

John is an exceptional role model for DEC students, and for ALL young people. He’s an inspiration to parents, teachers and professionals alike and an extraordinary ambassador for the Surveying and Property sector.

And we’re quite sure that his town is as proud as we are of one of its sons. Jaywick may have its challenges, as many other small coastal, rural, industrial towns do, but this is a clear case of triumph over adversity.  

This is social mobility at its best – it’s what can happen when great teaching combines with genuine industry support. 

Well done John. We’re all rooting for you on the 19th November!

Find out more about the awards here

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