Legal and General and ULI: Inspiring real estate’s future

The Real Assets team has entered into a partnership with the Urban Land Institute to promote a better understanding of sustainable communities for young people from all walks of life. It's called UrbanPlan, with the first L&G workshops taking place in schools in Cardiff, Bracknell and Newcastle in July 2018.

By Amanda Keane, Project Director – UrbanPlan ULI Charitable Trust

The Urban Land Institute is a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to responsible land use and creating thriving communities, (uk.uli.org). State schools can benefit from an exciting educational initiative that  promotes a better understanding of sustainable communities for young people from all walks of life. It’s called UrbanPlan, and the first L&G workshops took place in schools in Cardiff, Bracknell and Newcastle in July.

GCSE and A-level students can roleplay as property companies, aiming to develop schemes with consideration for the wider community. Each project is judged by a panel, with winning teams given the opportunity to visit real life projects. Students have to grapple with a host of realistic issues including having to design a viable scheme alongside providing affordable housing, community facilities and employment opportunities.

Across the pond, a long-standing UrbanPlan US programme helped reach 43,000 students over 15 years. Here in the UK, the programme has already reached nearly 2,500 pupils in over 100 schools, with 400 industry volunteers engaged across the country.

UrbanPlan runs in British state schools and is targeted at those with a high proportion of students receiving the pupil premium, teaching pupils about the role real estate can play in urban regeneration. In addition, the programme seeks to encourage a more diverse talent pool, break down barriers between citizens, developers and financial services firms as well as creating strong links between industry and education.

The long-term benefits of the programme have not gone unappreciated, with other sector giants such as British Land, Grosvenor, LandSec, Hammerson and Stanhope providing funding and volunteers for workshops.

So far, the programme has been very well received. Satisfaction levels from students, teachers and volunteers participating in the activities have consistently topped 95%, with students’ knowledge of and interest in the sector increasing significantly following the programme’s conclusion.

What’s great about the programme is it also supports social mobility and the long-term success of the industry by focussing on students from a diverse social and economic demographic and it develops valuable links between the industry and schools. UrbanPlan means the L&G team can get actively involved, volunteering in schools alongside the ULI team. And it doesn’t stop there – building those relationships means we can offer students site tours and work experience and share information about our projects so they have a better understanding of what’s going on in the built environment around them.

This short film gives a great insight into the valuable programme and if you would like to know more take a look at www.urbanplanuk.uli.org.

Interested in volunteering? There’s more information here www.urbanplanuk.uli.org/volunteer

As an industry, we need to do more to attract a wider pool of talent and work harder to break down gender, racial and class divides. Through programmes like UrbanPlan, Legal & General gets to meet, engage and inspire young people who would never have thought of pursuing a career in real estate.

We have been inspired by these children's ideas and willingness to enact change. Their stories and insights will undoubtedly have an effect on how we engage communities and we hope that someday, in the relatively near future, many of the pupils I have met will come and join our ranks at Legal & General.

Bill Hughes, Head of Real Assets

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