Pathways to Property initiative to improve diversity in the property sector

This major new initiative being launched by RREF, in partnership with British Land and The Sutton Trust, aims to attract talented students from less advantaged and non-traditional backgrounds into the property sector.

The property industry is widely acknowledged as suffering from a lack of diversity and this is reflected in the applications to study real estate at university. The majority of students attending the top Real Estate courses in the UK generally have a private education and two thirds are thought to already have contacts in the Real Estate industry. Poor awareness and understanding of the industry and its potential career prospects means academically able students from non-traditional backgrounds are missing out on employment opportunities . The low number of these students seeking to study real estate at university is made worse by increased tuition fees.

The 'Pathways to Property' project is designed to offer students an insight into university life, studying real estate and career opportunities through a Summer School held at the University of Reading. Successful students will then receive additional support such as mentoring, bursaries or scholarships and internships.

The involvement of industry is key to the project's success. Contributions from property company Redevco and some of the largest firms of advisors including BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, C&W, DTZ, Gerald Eve, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Savills and Strutt & Parker will be combined with British Land's generous commitment of over £200,000 to fund the programme over the next three years. In addition to their financial contribution these companies have kindly offered on-going support of the scheme.

Chris GriggChris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land said, 'We know our industry is failing to attract a more representative pool of talent. We need to make change happen and do more to fully incorporate the UK's diverse society through attractive recruitment programmes, employee training and development. The industry needs to work on this together but British Land is delighted to be pioneering such a project with one of the UK's top real estate universities and The Sutton Trust whose support, expertise and track record of delivering initiatives in this area has made it a respected voice in the social mobility debate.'

We are extremely fortunate to be working in partnership with The Sutton Trust on the project. The Trust promotes social mobility through educational initiatives and has run a wide range of access projects across a range of industry sectors and universities. The Trust is a leading light in its field and, in addition to a generous grant of £60,000, will bring a great deal of expertise to the Pathways to Property project.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman, The Sutton Trust said, 'We are delighted to back this programme to open up the property sector to young people from non-privileged backgrounds. Pathways to Property will build on what we have learnt through Pathways to Law, our university summer schools and other access initiatives. We hope it will, like them, be scaled up to reach many more young people in the years ahead. The Sutton Trust is delighted to be working with Reading University and British Land to make such an important and comprehensive project a reality'

The University of Reading and RREF's relationship with The Sutton Trust dates back five years, when initial talks were held about establishing an access initiative to tackle a lack of diversity within the real estate industry. It was recognised from the beginning that support from the sector would be vital. In light of an increasing appetite for change within industry, and Chris Grigg leading the charge with an impassioned speech to the Windsor Group, it was felt that the time is right to launch the scheme. With the support of the RREF Board of Trustees, Henley Business School and the School of Real Estate & Planning at the University of Reading, Pathways to Property was launched at the 11th RREF Annual Dinner on 8 November with a speech from Chris Grigg.

RREF has recruited a dedicated Project Officer to run Pathways to Property and ensure its successful delivery. Rachel Lad has extensive experience of managing widening access initiatives and is the main point of contact if you wish to volunteer your time to assist with the scheme.

Contact Us

If you wish to help fund the project please contact Nicole Gillham (n.gillham@rref.reading.ac.uk / +44 (0)118 378 4193).

If you would be willing to volunteer your time to get involved with Pathways to Property please contact Rachel Lad (r.lad@rref.reading.ac.uk).

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