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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

CIH and Staffordshire University get connected


Staffordshire University is a leading provider of advice-related higher education courses - and its social welfare law, policy and advice practice degree has recently secured validation from CIH in recognition that the course is supporting the housing profession. Course leader Richard Machin explains why this is such great news.

Image of paper people holding handsThe social welfare law degree has been running for over 10 years and is the only course of this type in the country. It not only equips students with the legal knowledge to work in the social welfare law sector but also has a strong values base which develops students' self-awareness and understanding of how to work appropriately with other professionals and clients.

The course has two delivery patterns, with students studying our campus-based in Stoke or studying as distance-learners. Many of our distance learning students are professionals who are already working in the advice sector and want to gain a degree-level qualification to consolidate their professional practice. Our distance learning students work in a range of professional settings including housing associations, advice teams in local government, student union advice centres and voluntary sector agencies.

Strong links

It is really important to us that we have strong links to the sector - we share CIH’s goal of supporting people with the advice and knowledge they need to be brilliant professionals. We're thrilled that our students will be able to apply for CIH student membership and have access to a range of resources, which will be of real value to their academic study and professional development.

In April, Staffordshire University appointed Professor Liz Barnes as vice-chancellor and she has highlighted the importance of Staffordshire University as a ‘connected university’ which not only provides an excellent academic experience for our students but also has great links to professional partners and employers. The social welfare law, policy and advice practice team sees CIH validation of our award as an important way of connecting with the housing sector.

Housing focused

Housing is a really important element of the social welfare law degree - all of our students study a housing rights module which focuses on topics such as tenancies and tenants’ rights, tenancy possession, allocation procedures and homelessness.

During the second year, students complete a voluntary work experience placement and in the past few years, many students have chosen to do this at one of the large housing associations in North Staffordshire such as Aspire Housing or Brighter Futures. In the third year, housing-related topics are a popular choice for dissertations, with recent graduates writing extended pieces on young people and homelessness, the ‘bedroom tax’ and retaliatory eviction.

We look forward to working with CIH in the coming academic year and know that our students will greatly benefit from both the validation and CIH student membership.

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