Editor: It was a wet summer for the UK, but a bright one at the 11th Pathways to Property Summer School, hosted by Henley Business School at the University of Reading.

PW080923_young people in the workplace_shutterstock_2151535963_cred Jacob Lund

Source: shutterstock / Jacob Lund

The Summer School seeks to address the lack of diversity and inclusion in the property industry, by helping to make real estate more accessible.

Here are my takeaways from the 2023 Summer School:

  1. Importance of role models: The students gained so much from meeting industry role models who looked and sounded like them, from different walks of life and career journeys. It shows students that their face, voice or experience fits in this sector and they have something to bring to the table.
  2. Talking money or salary shouldn’t be taboo: Earning potential is a huge part of young people’s decision-making process. We need to break down barriers and be more open about what is achievable. Real estate is competing against other sectors. It is vital to show students the salaries available in our sector and what they can work towards.
  3. Influence of mum and dad: Students’ parents want them to be engineers, doctors or lawyers; they don’t see real estate as a ‘proper’ profession – they just think of Foxtons or Phil and Kirstie. The challenge at Pathways is to showcase the breadth of careers and professions in real estate.
  4. Energy and ESG: Students bring so much energy. They are commercially astute, but also have the problem-solving skills to tackle the fundamentals of environmental, social and governance (ESG). They care about community and the environment, as well as making money, so are already bringing something to the table.
  5. The Pathways family: We had Summer School returners this year, alumni embarking on studying real estate or in early stages of their career. The cycle of change is well under way. These young people need us, but really, we need them. Our job is to sell real estate as a prosperous, compelling option if we are to compete for the best talent and ensure the sector thrives.

Paddy Allen, chairman, Pathways to Property