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

Triple training success for GEM programme


More than 30 young people have been recruited onto an award-winning graduate development programme.

The GEM (Graduate Employment Mentoring) programme, run by Bradford housing group Incommunities, is celebrating its biggest intake yet. The 34 new recruits come from housing and construction organisations across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Canada.

Run by Incommunities’ Centre for Partnership team, GEM aims to fast-track graduates that show leadership potential and strong social values into exciting careers in housing.

It is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) with recruits studying for a Level 4 qualification.

The latest cohort gathered at the University of Bradford’s Management Centre for two days of group work, case studies and a practical exercise covering the basics of different construction skills.

Fifteen staff from the various organisations providing traineeships also attended to take part in mentor training to support the individual GEMs in their workplace.

Among the new recruits is supported housing officer, George Kimmance, who has started with Plus Dane Housing and joins six other colleagues from the Merseyside group on the programme. George was attracted to the GEM programme after hearing great things about it from a former GEM student at a local jobs fair.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in moving into housing having worked part-time as a carer in supported living schemes helping people with different needs.

“Doing the professional training GEM provides and learning alongside other graduates from different organisations and backgrounds will really help my progression.

“I’m excited about the next 12 months.”

Psychology graduate Clare Meehan works as a community involvement officer with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and is one of four GEM recruits from the Belfast-based organisation.

She said: “I’m really interested in conflict resolution and feel the programme will give me a broader knowledge of the housing profession and also help me in my role in bringing communities together.

“It’s also great to be combining my learning with work experience of different departments of the Executive. The GEM programme has the added appeal of leading to an accredited CIH qualification.”

As well as kicking off cohort 10, the Centre for Partnership team launched the experienced professional route, fast-track training to CIH chartered membership. Four successful graduates from previous GEM programmes have signed up for this professional pathway.

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group chief executive and chair of the Centre for Partnership, said: “The GEM programme goes from strength to strength and is celebrating a triple milestone in launching its biggest cohort yet, the largest mentoring training we’ve run and the fast-track route to CIH chartered status.

“The programme is built on a proven track record of delivering real opportunities for young housing talent in the UK and beyond! The future is definitely looking bright.”

Trevor Smith, director of the Centre for Partnership, said: “I am delighted to welcome so many GEM recruits and their mentors onto the latest programme.

“The energy, passion and enthusiasm shown by everyone – students, mentors, tutors and housing leaders – in the GEM programme is really exciting. It continues to grow as a leading professional route for young people with ambitions to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

The partner organisations providing traineeships in cohort 10 are: Incommunities, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, United Living, Plus Dane Housing, Regenda Group, South Liverpool Homes, Horton Housing, Gentoo, Rooftop Housing, Wheatley Housing Group, Connect Housing and GEF Seniors Housing.

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