LendInvest has launched the LendInvest Property Development Academy, a new initiative designed to teach aspiring small-scale developers the skills they need to build more homes.
To help build the 300,000 new homes every year to meet demand, LendInvest says “entrepreneurial, independent and small-scale developers” can fill a gap that the government and major housebuilders have yet to bridge.
However, LendInvest says it is not just access to finance and land that is hard to find, but access to the right skill set. One in four applications for LendInvest development finance cannot be funded because the would-be borrower lacks the necessary knowledge. While a borrower’s proposed project may be sound, their skillset and experience often aren’t sufficient, the firm says; the LendInvest Property Development Academy was created to address this problem.
The Academy was established in collaboration with academics from the University of Reading.
The Academy Course is a two-day intensive programme that takes 20-25 ‘students’ through seven hands-on, practical modules covering the full development project: from land valuation and acquisition, through to planning permission, supplier contracts, cost management and final sale. Sessions are led by experienced advisers (e.g. solicitors, planners, valuers and surveyors) who know what it takes to get small-scale property developments delivered on time and on budget. In addition, this network of relevant contacts from their local area will become a vital resource for students to call upon in the future.
The Academy Knowledge Centre is a free-to-join online portal that is updated regularly with the latest background reading, tutorials, videos and guides for any developer that needs help at any stage of their building project. The content is chosen and curated by LendInvest and selected industry partners.
Christian Faes, CEO of LendInvest, said: “It’s time to stop talking about housing quotas, targets, and whose responsibility the housing shortage is. Instead, let’s just get more homes onto British streets that families can afford to live in. Small-scale SME developers can make that happen. As a lender, we have the means to back them, but our Academy lets us support them at a whole new level too, opening the door for them to better access to finance, land and skills.
“We are sure that brokers will be keen to support this initiative as they know better than anyone the many challenges that developers face. The Academy will help those developers build the right skillset, and for brokers that means getting more development finance deals over the line.”
Steve Larkin, director of development finance at LendInvest, added: “As well as the knowledge Academy students can expect to gain, there’s the enviable network effect to consider. Developers can’t afford to work in silos.
“The best developers build networks of advisers, contractors and suppliers around them that they know they can trust and rely on to get the job done.”
The first Academy Course takes place in central London on 11 & 12 November 2016. Future courses will be hosted nationwide, fulfilling demand from developers outside the M25 for practical housebuilding management education.