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

GEM graduates make the grade


Twenty six young people are celebrating completing the latest learning programmes run by Incommunities, aimed at setting them on course to building successful careers in housing.

Those completing cohort 7 of the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme and students completing the second 'Junior GEM' scheme were recognised at an awards presentation held at Bradford University’s School of Management on 20 May.

They were presented with Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Level 3 and 4 certificates by Incommunities chief executive Geraldine Howley. 

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

Among the successful students to receive their certificates was Lauren McAvan who works for the Accent Group as a customer service advisor. She said: "My GEM experience has been very rewarding. As part of my training I worked for Incommunities’ income team and completing the course enabled me to make that next step in my career by securing a job with another leading housing group. Things are going great and next week I’m joining a specialist home ownership team at Accent."

An eighth cohort for 20 graduates leading to a CIH Level 4 qualification is now underway.

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities chief executive, said: "I would like to congratulate all our successful GEM and Junior GEM students on their outstanding success. The programme has a proven track record in delivering real opportunities for young people to build exciting careers in housing and just goes from strength to strength. We are now delivering our eighth graduate programme involving ten partners across England and Scotland. The successful expansion of the GEM model into schools is a further milestone on a fabulous journey.

"Setting up a learning partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing is another exciting step forward in our ambitions to attract more talented young people into housing. The future is definitely looking bright."

Trevor Smith, director of the Centre for Partnership, said: "This celebration event recognised the fantastic contribution of students, tutors, managers, training providers and housing leaders who, together, want to change lives and be part of an exciting new future for the sector. Going forward, our aim remains focused on supporting many more graduates - turning them from talented students to shining GEMs."

Since 2009, the GEM programme has trained 119 graduates and almost 85 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.

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