5 Dec 2018
Published in Estates Gazette this week, our chief executive, Melanie leech talks about our ever-growing junior network, BPF Futures, and the importance of supporting junior professionals.
On 5 December 2017, we launched BPF Futures – our network for anyone with up to 10 years’ experience in property, created by junior professionals for junior professionals, to learn together and shape our sector’s voice.
Next week, it’ll be BPF Futures’ first birthday. And while we always expected the network to be well-received, we could never have anticipated its monumental rate of growth and impact on our sector’s relationship with the UK government, and on our thinking around what we need to do as a business sector to safeguard our future.
In the summer of 2017, the BPF Futures Advisory Board set out into the unknown, deciding upon its USP and why it believed there was a gap in the market for its offer. Drawing on the BPF’s expertise and breadth of membership, the network was to become a forum where junior professionals in different disciplines and cities, who rarely got the opportunity to network and make connections, could indeed meet one another and share ideas. It also set out to give junior professionals more access to our sector’s senior leaders, and to be a platform to learn about and become a part of our sector’s relationships with government.
Our sector’s policy work, which in the BPF has largely been shaped by the more senior ranks within our member companies, was in future going to better reflect the diversity of people and thought within our sector and benefit from fresh ideas and challenge from those less at risk of being captured by the corporate mindset.
This gap in the market evidently existed. With an initial membership target of 300 people in 12 months, BPF Futures is now one year old and has grown to over 1000 members. This number is still growing fast every week.
Our policy work aims to create the right conditions for the property sector to thrive, and this has significant influence over what the sector can achieve in both the short and long term. Those who will be impacted most by the future health of our sector, our junior generation, now have a role to play in shaping the environment within which they will build their careers.
This will undoubtedly have a positive knock-on effect on our sector’s ability to attract a more diverse range of people to consider a career in property, and to ensure a more diverse range of people stay in the sector over time.
Diversity and inclusion sit at the heart of BPF Futures’ goals, and the Advisory Board have firmly set their sights on helping the sector and the government to work together to ensure property becomes an attractive career choice (whether in the public or private sectors) to people from all walks of life. And, to foster a culture where everyone feels welcomed and valued, and is able to contribute to their full potential.
When I last wrote about BPF Futures in my regular column for EG, I was very proud to tell the readers about the BPF Futures Advisory Board’s meeting with the Prime Minister’s housing and planning adviser. We must not underestimate the significance of BPF Futures’ drive to promote a positive agenda for the property sector within government. BPF Futures is well equipped to represent a business sector that the Government sees as evolving, becoming more innovative and responsive to our society’s needs, and crucially as a key partner to the future success of the country.
2018 has been a fantastic first year for BPF Futures. 2019 promises another packed calendar of BPF Futures events, with a focus on learning & development and policy, but the upcoming year will be even busier as the network seeks to build scale and higher engagement levels among its ever-growing membership. BPF Futures members will be given more opportunities to get involved in various policy workstreams and partnerships will be reinforced with UK government, across different departments, including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Homes England. And, my message to BPF-member companies, please continue to support BPF Futures, advocating the network internally and encouraging your junior colleagues to sign up and most importantly get involved!