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

Recession puts pressure on skills

05/03/2010


New research commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) indicates the recession and economic downturn is placing increasing pressure on the learning and development activities of housing organisations in England.

The research, undertaken in November 2009, indicated that the training activity of 52 per cent of housing organisations, who took part in the survey, had already been affected by the recession. Nearly seventy per cent of housing organisations questioned expected the recession to have an impact on their training activity in 2010.

The survey, undertaken by an independent research company on behalf of CIH, involved in-depth surveys with 150 human resource professionals and senior executives working in ALMOS, housing associations and stock holding local authorities. Housing associations expect to be least affected by the recession (62 per cent), followed by ALMOs (76 per cent). Nearly all of local authorities (92 per cent) expect to be affected.

By the end of last year, a quarter of respondents had reduced their externally provided training. Approaching one fifth of respondents (17 per cent) had incurred a reduction in the value of their training budget and others reported they were training fewer people (17 per cent). To compensate, nearly a third (31 per cent) of respondents indicated that they had increased the amount of training they deliver themselves.

CIH Director of Professional Development, Martin Winn, said: "Our research indicates that housing organisations are already looking closely at their learning and development activities and some budgets are already being affected.

"Although the impact has been less than we might have expected, no one is sure when the economy will fully recover from the recession and what it means for public finances. We are urging housing organisations to think carefully about making short term cuts in training budgets, which may store up long-term problems for the housing sector.

"Investment in skills will be vital to meet demands for efficiency, effectiveness and innovation. It is also essential that housing professionals develop the skills they will need to provide the best possible service in future to ensure that we create places where residents want to live and work. There is a real danger that what may start out as temporary or short-term cuts in training and development, could turn into a major under-investment in skills spanning an entire generation of housing professionals. If this happens we will have failed the people that we seek to serve."

*ENDS*

News release issued on behalf of the CIH by Jill Dwyer, CIH Press Office, Octavia House, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8JP. Telephone: 02476 851780 or 07786 716961. Email: press@cih.org .

Notes to Editors:

1. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the professional body for people involved in housing and communities. We are a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. We have a diverse and growing membership of over 22,000 – both in the public and private sectors – living and working in over 20 countries on five continents across the world. Our members work for local authorities, housing associations, Arms Length Management Organisations, Government bodies, educational establishments and the private sector. Many tenants and residents are also members. We exist to maximise the contribution that housing professionals make to the wellbeing of communities. Further information is available at: www.cih.org


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