Social value, or the ‘S’ in ESG, is about recognising the importance of social, economic, and environmental wellbeing across our communities; and we at Hollis play a vital role in delivering these benefits for all.

A key attribute to our social value strategy is tackling the barriers to social mobility we see in the built environment, from difficulty attaining work experience placements to a lack of diversity within the industry. That is why we have partnered with many leading, industry wide social mobility schemes, providing funding, volunteering, and expertise. Together, we are working to educate and inspire those beginning careers in property, not only because it will enable them to gain the skills and knowledge to succeed, but because their bright and innovative ideas are key to ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of our industry. One of our brilliant education partners is The Academy of Real Assets.

Introducing the Academy

The Academy of Real Assets is a social impact business who aim to make a difference to disadvantaged students across the UK by introducing them to the opportunities available in real estate. Their key missions are to increase accessibility and diversity for young talent, generate a positive social impact, and build meaningful partnerships. We are proud to partner with The Academy of Real Assets through various measures, including supporting student competitions, attending careers fairs and hosting in school employability workshops as well as encouraging our junior employees to join the Academy’s Youth Board.

The Youth Board provides the opportunity to get involved with the Academy’s social impact engagement plan whilst making business connections with their peer groups. Members hold a range of responsibilities including brainstorming and executing innovative ways to engage students. One example of this is the film and essay competition for students across London, which the members will judge. To show our support to The Academy of Real Assets, our Chairman John Woodman has also entered an essay to sit alongside the excellent work of the students – keep your eyes peeled to read his entry!

To find out more about the Youth Board, we spoke to ESG Consultants Shane Banger and Mia Cousins who recently joined the Academy to understand why joining was so important to them.

Why did you join the Youth Board?

Shane Banger: “I joined the Academy as I feel there is a lack of accessibility and diversity in the industry, and I am keen to help the academy introduce disadvantaged students to the world of real estate. Generally, I feel there is a lack of education in schools regarding potential career paths into the built environment, and I think it is important to increase access to our industry by engaging with students of all academic capabilities and not just those destined for further education. It also aligns with our job role, helping to deliver the ‘Social’ aspect of ESG; engaging and encouraging those students who are currently outside the regular entry to the industry pathway.”

Mia Cousins: “I’m relatively new to the real estate industry, soon to be approaching one year, and it was only by chance that I discovered my job role as an ESG Consultant. Before research, the meaning of ‘ESG’ was a complete mystery; the term had never been noted through my Secondary School, Sixth Form, or University experience and was certainly not taught in the standard Geography or Business lessons. It seems a huge shame that ESG and its application into the real estate industry is a total unknown to so many young adults and we could potentially be missing a huge array of aspiring talent. Thanks to the Academy, we can hope to begin bridging this ‘Social’ gap and help spread awareness of the industry by means of creative competitions and engagement with students. It’s so important to emphasise that entry into this industry should not be inhibited by age, gender (it’s not just ‘males in construction’!), race, socio-economic upbringing, or academic skillsets, and I believe this Youth Board provides a platform to promote and inspire this.”

Find out more

The Academy of Real Assets is making great strides in improving social mobility in the industry and helping to create a truly diverse and inclusive industry. We are proud to support their work and look forward to continuing our partnership.

Well done to all Youth Board members, including our own Shane and Mia, for getting involved in events and initiatives throughout the year, and helping to provide pathways for students in the most hard-pressed parts of the country into real estate.

To find out more about The Academy of Real Assets, and the work of the Youth Board, visit their website here: https://www.acadrealassets.com/

Vicki Palmer

Senior Corporate Social Responsibility & Early Careers Manager

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