Thomas scoops top housing leaders award
Incommunities officer and GEM graduate Thomas Sutton has won a prestigious national housing award. The GEM (Graduate Employment Mentoring) programme provides training and internships for passionate, values-driven graduates around the country. It's accredited by CIH, with students studying towards a Level 4 Certificate for the Housing Profession. After starting his housing journey via the GEM scheme, Thomas is proud to have won an award.
The twenty six year-old graduate was presented with the 2015 24housing Young Leaders Award (sponsored by Maxmedia) at the National Housing Federation’s Annual Conference in Birmingham yesterday (Wednesday 23 September).
The competition is one of the leading events in the housing calendar.
In May, Thomas was named as one of 20 finalists for the award before the shortlist was cut to ten ‘young leaders’ - the final five were announced earlier this month.
In the live finals at the conference, an audience of over 800 delegates heard the presentation pitches from each of the finalists.
He was presented with his award by the Government’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark and National Housing Federation’s chief executive, David Orr.
Thomas made a winning impression with a passionate speech about the need to deliver more affordable social housing for young people, the importance of showing a strong social purpose and made a personal call for the formation of a world housing organisation that could promote and address global solutions to global issues.
Thomas manages Incommunities’ Smarterbuys store which provides essential household goods through affordable payment plans.
He joined the Bradford-based housing group through its award-winning GEM – Graduate Employment Mentoring – programme, which helps graduates into exciting careers in housing. After completing the GEM programme in 2011, Thomas was offered a permanent role within the group’s income team supporting customers affected by the welfare reforms. He also spent his internship with the team.
Thomas originally went into the teaching profession after university but realised it wasn’t the career path he wanted to take.
Thomas said: “I am thrilled to bits to win this prestigious award. It is thanks to my employer and the GEM programme that I am now developing a successful career that meets my values and aspirations.
“There are so many opportunities in the sector to realise your potential and it is important to me that I am working with colleagues who share such a strong professional commitment to make a difference and deliver the best service possible.
“We’ve got to make sure we attract the right young people into working in social housing. If we don’t, we won’t be able to meet the challenges in the future.”
Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group chief executive and President of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Everyone is thrilled to bits to see Thomas win this prestigious prize
“It is extremely well deserved and fitting recognition for the passion and leadership qualities Thomas shows in everything he does.
“We are also particularly proud to see one of our GEM graduates make such a big impact and hopefully, Thomas’ journey into housing can be an inspiration to other young potential housing leaders of the future.”