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

Double delight for housing graduate programme


A groundbreaking graduate training scheme, supported by Incommunities, has been recognised for its outstanding work in building careers in housing.

This week the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme has been re-accredited in the 2016 Responsible Business Awards, run by Business in the Community (BITC).

It is the third year running that the GEM programme has been recognised by the business network, earning a ‘Big tick’ accolade in the Inspiring Young Talent award category.

The Responsible Business Awards celebrate inspiring businesses and the work they are doing improving their communities and creating more inclusive workplaces. They coincide with Responsible Business Week (18-22 April 2016).

The GEM programme is a 12-month learning programme which is run by the housing group’s Centre for Partnership. It includes paid traineeships with a range of housing associations and Councils in England and Scotland.

It is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) with students studying for a Level 4 qualification and is soon to deliver a pilot route to chartered status.

Since 2009, the GEM programme has trained 119 graduates and over 70 per cent of those completing the qualification are currently working within the housing sector. Nearly one-third of these GEMs are from BME backgrounds and 59 per cent are female. 

The Centre for Partnership team is now running its eighth programme (or cohort) for 20 graduates.

The BITC accolade is a double boost for the GEM programme.

This week, Centre for Partnership director Trevor Smith has also won a Chartered Institute of Housing Yorkshire and Humberside Award in the ‘Exceptional contribution by a CIH member’ category.

Over the last seven years, Trevor, Incommunities chief executive Geraldine Howley and the Centre for Partnership team have worked together to develop the programme, taking it from being a West Yorkshire-based one to a UK-wide venture. The Centre for Partnership has also successfully expanded to offer a Junior GEM venture, delivering CIH accredited training to sixth form students in two Bradford schools.

Incommunities chief executive, Geraldine Howley, said: "We are delighted to have secured re-accreditation through Business in the Community.

"This recognition comes at a particularly exciting time as we continue to invest in the programme and develop both our national and international presence.

"It is also great news to see recognition for Trevor’s commitment and leadership in driving the programme forward. His contribution and that of everyone involved has been key to the successful self-development of many GEM students and them taking their first steps to become housing leaders of the future."

Trevor Smith, director of the Centre for Partnership, said: "The GEM Programme goes from strength to strength and this latest success represents another milestone on a fabulous journey.

"It represents fitting recognition for our GEM students, Geraldine’s strong leadership, the Centre for Partnership Team and the support of partners who share our ambition to develop the programme UK-wide and at an international level.

"Going forward, our aim remains focused on supporting many more graduates - turning them from talented students to shining GEMs."

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