Tristan Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and Eastdil Secured have teamed up with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO London) to tackle inequality in the commercial real estate industry.

The real estate firms have backed UK-registered charity SEO London, as founding supporters, to launch the Step Into Real Estate programme to help level the playing field for undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds.

The Step into Real Estate programme will educate students on the fundamentals of real estate and provide coaching on how to succeed in the industry.

SEO London said the programme will provide insights into real estate fundamentals of investing, valuation, and financing. 

Citing a report by consultant Bridge Group, SEO London said with just one in four (27%) UK real estate firms reporting employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds, the programme will “focus specifically on underserved and under-represented groups of young people from all ethnicities”.

Andrew Fairbairn, SEO London founder and CEO, said: “The commercial real estate industry is a tremendous vehicle of wealth creation and upward mobility in our society, yet remains a very exclusive group, not wholly representative of our broader society.

“The support of our lead sponsoring partners addresses head on the rising need and desire for greater diversity of thought, perspective, and experience within the industry.”

Ric Lewis, founder and executive chairman at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “There are swathes of young people in the UK with drive and ambition who lack the network, resources or insight to be able to take the first steps into a career in real estate. Having worked at the nexus of education and business for over thirty years in the UK and US, I know that informing, mentoring, and supporting new generations is the most potent and productive way to bring about real change.

“SEO’s extensive record in the US and in other sectors, makes them the ideal partner to create new pathways into our industry for talented young people, enabling real estate businesses to tap into a wealth of unrealised talent.”

Jim Garman, partner and head of EMEA alternatives and co-head of real estate for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said: “We are proud to extend our support for SEO London through this flagship programme for real estate careers. Ensuring the industry is accessible and open to a wider range of students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds is hugely important and we hope the programme will have long-lasting impact.”

Jim McCaffrey, senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with SEO London to launch this exciting initiative.

“At Eastdil Secured, we value diversity and inclusion and are committed to cultivating future leaders within the commercial real estate industry by recruiting, developing, and retaining the best and the brightest at all levels in a workplace where diversity is the norm and reflects the world in which we live. The programme has been designed to do exactly that through education, training, and internship opportunities, and supports our belief that the industry must foster a culture where everyone is welcomed, heard, and rewarded based on their contributions and achievements.”

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