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

Housing group hosts international students visit


A group of Hong Kong university students have been in Bradford (20 – 27 May) getting a unique insight into the work of one of the country’s leading housing associations.

The visit to Incommunties was hosted by the housing group’s Centre for Partnership team and during their stay the post graduate students – Amber Yushi Chen, Xiaoxi Yan, Ethan Siu Leung Cheung and Shuangshuang Li – learnt more about UK housing policies and how local housing services are delivered.

The students are studying for a master's qualification in Urban Management and the idea for the placement followed a fact finding visit to Hong Kong and its City University made last year by Incommunities chief executive Geraldine Howley, in her role as President of the Chartered Institute of Housing. 

The group began their stay in Bradford meeting graduates and local sixth formers who were celebrating completing their Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programmes at a special awards night on Friday (20 May).

The GEM programme is a 12-month learning programme run by Incommunities and accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). It is designed to help young people build successful careers in the sector and involves paid traineeships with housing associations and Councils across England and Scotland.

These are exciting times for the programme as it begins to develop international partnerships, working with CIH branches in Hong Kong and Canada as well as a similar scheme in Holland.

Ethan Siu Leung Cheung said: “The visit proved invaluable in finding out more about the different way housing services are provided and about the impact of national government policy such as right to buy and welfare reforms.

“It’s also been great to meet some of the GEM students and hear about their experiences working in housing.”

Incommunities chief executive, Geraldine Howley said: “We were delighted to host these international students and share with them the UK housing approach and how we deliver our services locally.

“The students came with a lot of knowledge of housing policy and practices in Hong Kong and were very interested to learn more about how we do things.

“They really enjoyed meeting our GEMs and in my CIH presidential year I have been keen to promote the exciting professional opportunities there are for young people in housing. Hopefully, this visit will prove a further step in helping build closer learning partnerships beyond the UK.”

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