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

Housing GEM graduates make the grade


An innovative graduate learning programme run by the Centre for Partnership - part of Incommunities - is celebrating a double success on Friday (19 June).

Junior GEMs photoEighteen recruits on the latest GEM – Graduate Employment Mentoring – programme (cohort 6) have passed the Chartered Institute of Housing Level 4 qualification and each have gone on to secure jobs.

The programme delivers intensive management and leadership training, combined with paid internships, which is designed to equip students with the ‘tools’ to become leaders of the future. The training includes residential academies, mentoring and the close support of housing leaders.

The young people will be joined by eight successful sixth form students from Tong High School who have completed the first ever Junior GEM programme – an expansion of the Graduate Employment Mentoring programme. Alongside working for their ‘A’ levels, the students completed their studies leading to Chartered Institute of Housing Level 3 passes.

The GEM programme has grown from being a West Yorkshire-based initiative to a national one. Twenty housing associations across the country provide traineeships.

All the successful students will attend an awards ceremony at Incommunities’ Shipley base where they will receive their CIH certificates from Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group Chief Executive. The event marks Geraldine’s first local engagement since taking over as President of CIH.

In the main programme (cohort 6) students were placed with a range of different housing groups – Incommunities, Catalyst Housing, Circle Housing, Gentoo, Guinness Northern, Leeds Federated, Orbit Group, Raven Housing and Yorkshire Coast Homes.

The students’ success continues the GEM Programme’s 100% track record in securing employment for participants.

Among the successful GEM students is Natasha Jarratt who secured a job with Incommunities as a Policy Analyst. She said: “The GEM programme gave me a foot in the door to a career in housing, an area I have always wanted to work in.

“The qualification has been challenging but rewarding. Joining GEMs has also given me the opportunity to give something back through working with the Junior GEMs and helping in their development."

Natasha was awarded a ‘Distinction’ following the completion of her GEM experience.

Sarah Ellis works for Raven Housing. She said:  “I am due to start a new job in London soon as an Assistant Project Manager and I am sure completing the GEM programme was a key factor in being selected.

“I have really enjoyed my first proper job working for Raven Housing and I am looking forward to the next step in my housing career. Thank you GEMs.”

Successful Junior GEM Brendan Helstrip from Tong High School was equally positive saying: “The programme has helped me gain confidence, improve my team skills and learn about the great job opportunities in housing.”

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group Chief Executive, said: “I would like to congratulate all our successful GEM and Junior GEM students on their outstanding success.

“The programme has a proven track record in delivering real opportunities for young people to build careers in housing. Over the last year the success of our partnership with two local schools – Tong High and, most recently, Buttershaw Business Enterprise & College - has taken the programme in an exciting new direction.

“Setting up a learning partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing is another exciting step forward in our ambitions to attract more talented young people into housing. The future is definitely looking bright.”

Trevor Smith, Director of the Centre for Partnership, said: “This celebration event will recognise the fantastic contribution of students, tutors, managers, training providers and housing leaders who, together, want to change lives and be part of an exciting new future for the sector.

“The GEM model goes from strength to strength in providing a professional route towards achieving the equivalent of a ‘debt free’ business focused degree.”

  • Issued by Tony Lofthouse, Incommunities Media & Communications Officer (01274 254253 /
  • Photocall – 5pm on Friday 19 June at The Quays, Victoria Street, Shipley. All the successful students can be pictured with Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group Chief Executive with their CIH certificates
  • The successful GEM students on cohort 6 are: Daniel Watson, Manuel Casertano, Ivan Nkata, Steve Hill, Ashley Bainbridge, Conor Brown, Natasha Jarrett, Nicholas Bradshaw-Hughes, Siobhan Orient, Jack Bennett, Martin Ben Fox, Emily Ashford, Muied Shujeid, Katie Rockett, Stephanie Agyei Dwamena, Sarah Ellis, Nadia Yousaf and Nicola Charlton.
  • The eight successful Junior GEMs are: Sana Yasin, Harry Stone, Megan Brandon, Kylie Priestley, Hailey Blaymire, Brendan Helstrip, Danielle Longstaff and Kane Hogan.
  • Find out more about the GEM programme

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