16 May 2022

Creating better homes and lives - Wheatley Homes

At Wheatley, our ambition is to create better homes and better lives for the people who live in them.

We serve some of the most deprived communities in the UK, and our aim is to generate opportunities for our customers to make the most of themselves and fulfil their potential. We want to tackle the barriers that people face growing up in poverty and help people achieve their ambitions.

It’s in jobs and training – and particularly our further education bursary programme – where we make the biggest difference. Support from Wheatley has already helped hundreds of people gain qualifications, increase their skills and land their dream job. We’ve created thousands of job opportunities for people in our communities, with almost 500 young people having come through our Modern Apprentice programme since it launched in 2009. 

These apprenticeships can make a real difference to a young person’s life and have helped launched careers in housing and other industries.

Young people don’t need any formal qualifications, they get a real salary, great benefits including discounts on driving lessons, as well as on-the-job training from experienced housing professionals and business support services as they work towards an SVQ qualification.  

Wheatley Homes Glasgow housing officer, and former apprentice, Gemma Woodrow told me

“The apprenticeship is an amazing opportunity. It helped build my confidence and gave me transferable life skills. It’s a real pathway to a career.”

The apprenticeship helps them accelerate their learning and development, helping them grow as people and as professionals.

Our Ignite graduate scheme, with a focus on young people from our communities, can also help people make the next step by offering expert on-the-job training, opportunities for further study and mentoring support to help build a successful career in housing. All the research points to the importance of education in increasing opportunities for people.

But the cost of further education is a barrier for too many, especially in our communities across Scotland.

Our bursary scheme, run by Wheatley Foundation, is one of the most important ways we can help anyone who qualifies – irrespective of their circumstances – to fulfil their potential. The bursaries are worth up to £1500 for full-time students and £750 for part-time studies and will help support people on college and university courses. We’ve provided 390 university bursaries over the years, and changed people’s lives in the process.

Sameer Khalid, one of our tenants from Milton in Glasgow, received a bursary to study medicine at St Andrews University:

“Despite having the academic qualifications for the course, the financial side of things can be a burden”, Sameer says. “Having the bursary has let me focus on my studies.”

Jennifer Kennedy, a mum of three from West Lothian who completed an honours degree in Business Management, tells a similar story:

“I’m the first person in my family to go to university and the bursary was an absolute god send”, she says. “It helped me pay for books and took away some of the worry about finances while I was studying.”

That’s the difference we can make. Our aim is to invest in our customers and staff to help them realise their potential and fulfil their ambitions – and ensure the future leaders in housing across Scotland come from within the communities we serve and the people we work for. 

Written by Jehan Weerasinghe

Jehan Weerasinghe is managing director of Wheatley Homes Glasgow.