The Westminster Property Association (“WPA”), which represents over 240 leading real estate developers, investors and advisors has announced a new landmark partnership with charity Young Westminster Foundation to support hundreds of local young people from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged areas in taking a first step in their career.
The programme forms part of the WPA’s commitment to play a key role in providing a more diverse and equitable future for Westminster’s young people.
The partnership will see the WPA commit £255,000 to help fund the Mastering My Future employability scheme over the next three years. It will help fund outreach, as well as a range of training, skills, mentoring and work experience. As part of the scheme, the funds will also help to deliver a bespoke programme to create a pathway into the property sector for smaller groups of participants.
Mastering My Future, which primarily targets those aged 14 to 18, reflects Westminster City Council’s focus on social mobility and providing residents with local training and employment opportunities. Despite being home to over 55,000 businesses and generating more than £78bn per year in GVA, Westminster includes some of the most economically deprived areas of the UK.
The programme will include opportunities for young people to learn about and experience all facets of the planning and development process including investment, social value, sustainability, technology and communications, and will be delivered by social enterprise 2-3 Degrees alongside volunteers from leading real estate organisations.
For each of the three years of the programme, it will:
- Engage over 500 young people directly in schools
- Introduce 80 young people to employers via activity-based workshops and workplace visits
- Deliver 14 workshops during the school half-term and holidays
- Facilitate two ‘Masterclass’ sessions to support young people in developing key employability skills such as interview confidence and CV-writing
- Deliver a programme of workshops, work experience, mentorship and skills training to give young people an introduction to a career in the property sector
The partnership was formally announced at the WPA Annual Lunch on 16 November 2023, attended by over 1,300 members of the central London property sector, as well as partners and stakeholders, including senior representatives from Westminster City Council and the Young Westminster Foundation.
The funding has been provided by WPA members BEAM, Gerald Eve, GPE, The Howard de Walden Estate, Landsec, The Pollen Estate, Shaftesbury Capital and Soho Estates, topped up by core WPA funds.
Marcus Geddes, Chair of Westminster Property Association (and Managing Director, Workplace at Landsec) said:
“Our members have an important role in helping to support economic and social prosperity across the city, which despites its economic might contains some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.
“Attracting local people from all backgrounds into the property sector brings new ideas and perspectives and helps create inclusive places. We are proud to partner with the Young Westminster Foundation on this programme and look forward to supporting the first cohort of young people on their journey to a fulfilling career.”
Helen Mann, Chief Executive, Young Westminster Foundation, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Association for its support for this important programme and its commitment to creating opportunities for young people in the property sector.
“We know that being able to meet professionals face-to-face, visit their workplace and gain some real work experience can be transformational for young people and give them the confidence they need to take their first step on the career ladder. There are so many exciting opportunities for young people in property and it offers the chance to help shape the city in which we live for the benefit of future generations.”
Cllr Adam Hug, Leader of Westminster City Council, said: “The property industry is a major investor and employer across Westminster, and it is vital that young people growing up in the City have a chance to benefit from that.
“The Young Westminster Foundation – thanks to the support of the Westminster Property Association – is providing a bridge to training and careers for young people in the property world. The Council is determined that young people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds can share in the success of central London’s economy. I’m confident the partnership being announced today will be an effective route to make that happen.”