The non-profit training facility, launched in collaboration with the University of Reading, will supply skills and networks to aspiring housebuilders.
It comes as the government has hinted at a change in its strategy of facilitating home ownership with initiatives like Help to Buy. It now wants to include rentals in its ‘one million homes by 2020’ target, new housing minister Gavin Barwell told delegates at a property conference.
LendInvest’s academy course is a two-day intensive programme taking 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 will be led by experienced advisers, including solicitors, planners, valuers and surveyors, who will share their insights on what it takes to get small-scale property developments delivered on time and on budget.
On top of education, students will build up a network of contacts to call upon in the future. They will also have access to a free-to-join online portal offering background reading, tutorials, videos and guides for developers, curated by LendInvest and selected industry partners.
CEO Christian Faes 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.”
LendInvest’s initiative comes as the government is battling a ‘housing crisis’, which some have said, could lead to four million people being priced out of property by 2024.
The government had set itself a target of 275,000 new affordable homes to be built in 2015 but missed the figure by half when a mere 131,060 new homes were completed.
MPs are currently investigating whether the industry is able to build enough houses in principle or, if not, what constraints it is facing and how they can be overcome.
LendInvest said it has identified a lack of skills among developers as being a major obstacle in the market. One in four applications for LendInvest development finance cannot be funded because the would-be borrower lacks the necessary knowledge, it said.
“While a borrower’s proposed project may be sound, their skillset and experience often aren’t sufficient. The LendInvest Property Development Academy was created to address this problem,” the lender said.
The academy is free to attend and will accept suitable applicants with proven property experience. The first course takes place in central London on 11 & 12 November 2016. Future courses will be hosted nationwide.