14th August 2023

Fostering Diversity: The Land Collective’s BGIP Programme Inspires Black Girls in Property

Home>News>Responsible Business>Fostering Diversity: The Land Collective’s BGIP Programme Inspires Black Girls in Property

The Land Collective’s Black Girls in Property (BGIP) programme was designed to empower and inspire young girls of black heritage to explore opportunities within the property industry. This innovative summer programme aimed to equip 40 Year 11 students with the skills, knowledge, and network needed to succeed personally and professionally in the sector.

With a core focus on diversifying the traditionally male-dominated construction and property sector, the programme was dedicated to encouraging more females to consider careers in construction, development, estate agencies, and related sectors. This mission seamlessly aligns with Axis’ own commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I), as well as the company’s objective to inspire and empower more women to join and excel in the construction industry.

We utilised the Travis Perkins community fund and provided a generous sponsorship of £3,500 for the BGIP programme. This funding supported a series of activities aimed at enhancing the participants’ understanding of the property industry and equipping them with essential skills for success.

The BGIP programme’s action-packed itinerary for the week of August 7th was an enriching experience for its attendees. The schedule, which was supported by employees from Axis’ women in construction group, included a case study session on Monday, August 7th, which was led by Samantha Paynter, Contract Manager and Linda Daniels, Senior Quantity Surveyor. They provided participants with real-world insights and practical knowledge from their industry experiences.

Commenting on her experience, Samantha said, “I found the session with BGIP really useful, the girls were very engaging and were eager to ask questions about the construction industry and mine and Linda’s journey to date. The girls seemed to enjoy the session that we provided them and enquired about possible work experience placements to see if construction was something that they would like to pursue in their careers.”

Linda said, “It was nice to see that the girls were interested in our career paths and asked loads of questions especially in regards to the tool / construction side of things and how diversity and engaging women plays a part in what we do. Overall, a lovely day”

On Thursday, August 10th, an early careers session was delivered by Maria Northwood, Business Support Director, Abigail Darkwa-Marfo, Trainee Quantity Surveyor and Francesca Fordham, Site Supervisor. This session aimed to provide valuable guidance and mentorship to the young girls, helping them navigate the initial stages of their careers with confidence.

Abigail shared her experience: “Participating in the BGIP Programme was a fantastic experience. I discussed my educational background, my journey to joining Axis, the details of my daily routine as a trainee Quantity surveyor. Observing the enthusiasm of young women who are actively planning for their future and investing their summer break in events like this, is truly refreshing.”

Sarah Hayford, the founder of Land Collective, expressed, “Widening access to opportunities is at the heart of what we do at The Land Collective CIC. As a youth-focused organisation that has diversity and inclusivity as core values, having tailored programmes are particularly important to measure outcomes. Property is a very male-dominated, traditional sector. While strong efforts have been made to change that, we still have quite a long way to go. When you introduce ethnicity and class into the equation; we have even further to go. The aim of this programme is to provide equality of opportunity and improve access at an earlier stage. This is why we have decided to focus this programme on Black teenage girls who have just completed Year 11 from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

With the support of Axis Europe, the Greater London Authority, and other professionals across the industry, we were able to deliver a successful pilot programme, where the girls involved learned about all things property, personal development, and career options. We couldn’t have asked for more supportive partners in the process, and we’re very much looking forward to working together again in the future to deliver follow-up career sessions with parents and more ways for youth to engage with the industry and business.”

As the property industry continues to evolve, initiatives like the BGIP programme play a pivotal role in shaping a more diverse, inclusive, and dynamic workforce. In line with this commitment, Axis looks forward to a continued collaboration with The Land Collective. Plans are underway to offer participants from the BGIP programme various opportunities such as work experience, apprenticeships, and mentorship in the future.

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