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

CIH course gave me deeper insight into how the housing sector works - Niki


CIH’s knowledge management and research administrator, Niki Walton, has just successfully completed our Level 4 housing course. As she waits to be awarded her certificate, she shares her reflections on her year of study.

The time between completing a study course and receiving the results is one which invites reflection, despite the obvious fact that nothing more can be done to influence the result. While thousands of students across the country have been contemplating their recent exam performances at school, college or university, I have been looking back on my year of study for the CIH Level 4 certificate in housing, which I embarked on in May last year.

The course covers a wide range of contemporary housing issues and current housing practice, and tests students’ knowledge of housing law, finance, and policy. Assignments vary in style too, requiring a combination of essays, reports, a survey, and reflective practice to be written during the course. The mix of required modules and choice of optional modules gives a broad coverage of topics while enabling students some degree of specialism into areas which interest them more.

Before beginning the course, I felt I had a reasonable grasp of housing policy and of current housing issues through my work in the policy and practice team here at CIH. Reading through the course materials proved to me that I did have a good understanding of housing – but there were definite gaps in my knowledge. The course materials are very detailed but presented in a variety of formats so the information is always clear and easy to absorb. Quizzes and tasks along the way mean that you can test your newly-gained knowledge without having to wait until the assignment to measure your learning progress. These are useful in getting you to think about how legislation and standard procedures actually work when applied to real-life situations.

The course consists of six modules – four compulsory modules, plus two chosen from a list of four optional units. Three of the compulsory modules – housing policy, housing law, and finance for housing – give a firm foundation of knowledge of how the housing sector developed and how it operates today. Two optional modules (I chose to study housing management and research skills for housing) help to broaden out this knowledge with a greater focus on practical application of knowledge. The final module, professional practice skills for housing, encourages learners to take a critical look at their skills and capabilities, and to formulate a plan for continued learning and progression beyond the end of the course.

Studying this course has given me a deeper understanding of housing practice, and by gaining a greater understanding of the legal and practical frameworks in use, a more complete sense of how different areas of housing policy and practice join up or work together. The focus on personal and professional development in the final module led me to revisit some of my earlier course materials and consider where my specialist interests lay, and why. Overall, I found the course gave me a great insight into the detail of how the housing sector works, and has refreshed my interest in developing my housing knowledge further.


More information about the Level 4 course and other qualifications is available from CIH Housing Academy.

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