New Social Impact Fund to Champion D&I in UK’s Real Estate Sector
Landsec has launched £20 million social impact fund, Landsec Futures, which aims to catalyse the adoption of more equitable recruitment practices in UK’s real estate industry by enhancing social mobility and delivering £200 million of social value before 2030.
As a significant employer of multiple occupations, the sector contributes £94 billion to the United Kingdom annually. However, an already poor track record of recruiting people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds has been tarnished further by recent research suggesting almost half (45%) of real estate employees attended an independent or selective state school.
Landsec Futures will address the need for greater diversity and representation by investing in new social impact programmes focused on:
• Industry action: programmes designed to directly improve access to, and representation within, the real estate industry; and
• Local communities: programmes to increase support for organisations which are already making a positive change in communities close to where Landsec invests.
Since 2020, Landsec has supported over 4,500 individuals who faced barriers to employment to enter the world of work, and has delivered an estimated £20 million of social value. New programmes to be supported by Landsec Futures will build on previous achievements to maximise the potential of people, places and communities.
[W]e know the real estate industry is not where it needs to be if we want to create more inclusive, sustainable, and successful places that support people and businesses to thrive
Jennie Colville, Head of ESG and Sustainability, says: “Despite greater focus on diversity in recent years, we know the real estate industry is not where it needs to be if we want to create more inclusive, sustainable, and successful places that support people and businesses to thrive. We need our industry to include a more diverse representation of people from all walks of life, empowering them to lead change in the places they know the best.
“In addition to the programmes committed to today, we will be collecting data on the socio-economic backgrounds of our existing and future employees at Landsec as part of our new diversity and inclusion strategy. This will help us better measure the impact of our actions today and create an industry where everyone can fulfil their potential.”
The four programmes announced by the company are:
• Internships – developed in line with the UK Social Mobility Commission Toolkit, these will see Landsec offer young people six months of paid work experience in a department of their choosing. The programme, which starts this month, will run twice a year and offer eight candidates the opportunity to build skills through bespoke training and on-the-job learning experiences. All internships are entry-level and do not rely on previous work experience or university qualifications.
• Real estate bursaries – at least five students from lower socio-economic backgrounds will be supported by a three-year bursary of up to £30,000. The bursaries will be available to students undertaking property-related courses or qualifications at university.
• Employability partnerships – to encourage diversity, Landsec is evolving its approach to education and employment partnerships to work more closely to support people living in communities where the group operates. Educational or employability charities in local areas across the Landsec portfolio will be eligible for three-year funding packages to further their work to get more people of all ages into a range of roles related to the real estate industry, faster.
• Community grants – Landsec is introducing a new unrestricted grants programme for charities local to places where it invests to increase funding for the most pressing social and economic community challenges. Administered in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation, grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 will be made available to support not-for-profit organisations with their day-to-day work.
Working with organisations like Landsec is important because young people don’t know companies like it exist
Duro Oye, Founder and CEO of youth empowerment organisation 20/20Change, says: “Working with organisations like Landsec is important because young people don’t know companies like it exist, let alone, that it welcomes and invites diverse job applicants.
“They feel like roles within companies like Landsec weren’t made for them, and the new type of partnership which has been announced is set to change that.
“Our new three-year partnership will enhance and accelerate the work we do by enabling us to support an additional 40 young people annually who are long-term unemployed, underemployed or not in education or training, to grow their confidence and skills to secure roles across the sector.
We’re delighted to be able to deepen and extend the rewarding partnership that we have enjoyed.
Stephanie Burras, CEO of Ahead Partnership, which operates unique business partnerships and programmes to connect young people to opportunity, and has worked with Landsec over the last seven years, adds: “We are delighted to be able to deepen and extend the rewarding partnership that we have enjoyed.
“The exciting skills and employability activities we have already delivered with Landsec’s retail teams across the country, including mentoring and Made In sustainability challenges, have equipped hundreds of young people with the confidence and skills they need to succeed.
“A new three-year partnership with Landsec Futures will allow us to scale the impact of these successful programmes even further, and we look forward to working with Landsec colleagues to create opportunity for many more young people.”
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