Photo Credit – Sandra Robinson, Assoc Director @ WSP

Andy Burnham has called for more diversity in the property sector if it is to confront the challenges of reaching net zero.

He was speaking at a Regeneration Brainery event in Stockport – an interactive programme aimed at getting young people from a diverse range of backgrounds interested in a career in the built environment.  

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “In Greater Manchester we are right at the forefront of the green industrial revolution. If we want to meet our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038 we need to inspire our young people to take action. The property and regeneration sector has an important role to play in tackling climate change, and we need to encourage young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to get involved. We need new ideas and creative minds if we’re going to confront one of the biggest challenges of our generation.”

The not-for-profit platform is the brainchild of social impact developers CAPITAL&CENTRIC and is supported by Homes England, BDP and Lloyds Bank.

The week long workshop gave a group of 16-21 year old ‘brainees’ the chance to be mentored by some of the biggest names in property and regeneration. They also had the chance to visit Stockport’s Weir Mill which CAPITAL&CENTRIC are planning to develop into a thriving new community. Tim Heatley, co-founder of CAPITAL&CENTRIC said: “Since Regeneration Brainery started in 2017, climate change has shot up the agenda, especially when it comes to property. Young people can not only help shape the places that we live but in doing so they can make a difference to the planet. It’s not something that people often talk about but repurposing old buildings is much better for the environment. So redeveloping Weir Mill in Stockport isn’t just about creating an amazing new destination, it’s also saving a load of carbon.

“This was our first Brainery in Stockport and despite the challenges COVID’s thrown at us we weren’t going to let the kids down after they’ve missed out on so much this last 18 months. Hopefully we’ve inspired the next generation of property stars!”

Alongside Andy Burnham was Caroline Simpson, Deputy Chief Executive at Stockport Council who said: “Regeneration Brainery is amazing, the opportunity to inspire and engage with young people from across Greater Manchester is a real privilege. Everybody has a role to play and we really want to inspire young people for the future. We want to live and work in an inclusive society and we need to have a real focus on ensuring that everybody from all aspects of life are included in the industry and are inspired to get involved – only then can we create developments and places that are inclusive.”

Paul Richards, Director of Development and Regeneration, Stockport Council and Chief Executive, Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation:

“Regeneration Brainery is a way of exciting the people who are going to be the future of property and the built environment. It’s really important that we foster the interest in that as a career to fill the skills shortage in the industry. The brainees get an insight into how property really works and the scope of opportunities that exist. The enthusiasm we’ve seen from the brainees today gives us massive hope for the future.”

Brainee Mary Aitkenhead said: “I found speaking to the different mentors and learning about their journeys really inspiring, they make it clear that there are so many routes into property. People should come on the Brainery because it’s an excellent opportunity to gain experience and to see what the property industry is like first hand. You don’t get that opportunity in the classroom, so doing that out in the real world is probably one of the best things you can do.”

The industry led programme operates in various cities across the UK and works with more than 100 adults each year. It’s a year round mentoring programme where brainees have access to mentors, work placements, apprenticeships and networking events.

You can find out more and apply at