Guest blog: Fahad Abid – My experience on FoL’s Emerging Talent Programme

Fahad Abid, currently a New Business Officer at Southern Housing Group, is part of our first Emerging Talent Programme cohort. In this blog, he gives an insight into what it’s like to be on the programme and what he’s learned so far.

Find out more about the Emerging Talent Programme here.


My background

After graduating from university with my degree in Real Estate I wanted to pursue a career in property. With the property industry having a wide range of career paths, it was important for me to explore my options. This is what led me to join the Future of London Emerging Talent Programme (ETP).

The ETP is designed to give an insight into the housing and regeneration sector over three placements at different organisations. The programme champions diversity and inclusion, which is something that I am passionate and proud to be part of.

My first placement

My first placement has been with Southern Housing Group in their New Business Department. Within Southern, I have a “buddy” and a line manager. Both of them have significant experience within the industry, and are giving me a lot of support during my placement. My peers on the programme who are on placement with other employers have the same.

Whilst at Southern, I’m getting involved in a lot of different activities. I work on appraising new land acquisition opportunities for Southern Housing. This takes the form of complex financial analysis and carrying out due diligence checks on potential sites that Southern may wish to purchase to build and develop affordable housing. I’ve had a good amount of training from Southern on this, and it builds on what I learnt at university.

Learning on the job

So far in my placement, I’ve gained insight into how land transactions are formed, and how land is developed into housing. I’ve also been given a piece of work to pretty much manage on my own – an area investment strategy, which is essentially a toolkit that compares different locations across a range of metrics. This will support Southern developing their growth strategy by identifying ideal places to develop in.

I’ve also been involved in preparing and delivering presentations to senior internal colleagues on opportunities for land purchase and development, engaging with our residents and being involved in handovers of completed buildings. While I’m a few months into my placement right now, I’m already getting a wide insight into different areas of work that a housing association gets involved in and the variety of career paths available in this sector.

Personal development and mentoring

Future of London have allocated me a personal mentor who works for a different organisation. My mentor is an experienced manager working in housing and regeneration. I’ve learnt about my mentor’s role, and he’s given me advice to handle challenges I may face; my mentor’s guidance was really helpful in managing work during Ramadan. My mentor has also helped me with learning a wider range of different knowledge about the sector.

I’ve also really enjoyed the training days with other members of the Emerging Talent Programme cohort. As well as getting to build my peer network, these events have helped with developing my confidence and communication skills.

In the three short months I’ve been on the programme so far, I’ve gained crucial real-life experience of working in Housing and Regeneration and have delivered a range of work myself. The Emerging Talent Programme has definitely inspired me to pursue a career in the built environment sector. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m looking forward to the rest of my time on the programme, and I’m excited about where my career could go!