New partnership to develop housing leaders of the future

A new partnership has been signed to develop the housing leaders of the future. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and The Centre for Partnership – part of Bradford-based housing group Incommunities – are teaming up to expand and develop the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme, which provides training and paid internships for graduates.

The programme was launched in 2009, and has grown from being a West Yorkshire-based project to a national one involving 20 housing associations across the country providing paid traineeships. They include the Orbit Group, Ongo, Newlon Housing and Leeds Federated.

It offers an intensive learning programme which is designed to equip students with the tools to become housing leaders of the future. The training includes residential academies, mentoring and strong support from housing leaders.

As part of the new partnership, GEM recruits will be able to achieve CIH’s Level 4 Certificate for the Housing Profession and take the experienced professional route to chartered membership of CIH.

The programme is aiming to double the number of graduates it takes on each year, from 20 to 40, and discussions are under way to develop its international presence. Incommunities and CIH are also setting up a ‘GEM for life’ network to help graduates support one another as they progress in their careers.

The GEM programme took on its 100th student last year and has a 100 per cent employment rate for its last two cohorts. In 2013 it expanded to offer a Junior GEM programme to sixth formers in Bradford. Two local schools are currently taking part in training leading to a CIH Level 3 qualification.

This year, a number of GEM students will be designing and delivering sessions at the Treehouse, the official fringe at CIH’s annual conference, Housing 2015.

CIH director of membership and education Judy Waugh said:

“We’re really excited about this partnership. It’s part of our goal to do everything we can to bring new talent into housing and to develop young people from different backgrounds into the future leaders of our profession.”

Incommunities Group chief executive Geraldine Howley said:

“We are delighted to enter into this partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing to further develop the GEM programme. “It has a proven track record of creating a pipeline of talented young people keen to build rewarding careers in the sector. In just a few years the programme has made great strides to become a nationally recognised management and leadership training programme. This new partnership represents an exciting new chapter in the GEM success story.”