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

Investing in the housing professional of the future


Matt Hensby, head of tenancy management at Sovereign, welcomes their first cohort of apprentices taking part in our new bespoke, CIH-accredited housing management qualification.

Investing in the housing professional of the future

Matt Hensby, head of tenancy management at Sovereign says: I know first-hand that housing is a challenging but also immensely rewarding career. But as the world changes, and the needs and expectations from our customers and communities change, we need to step up the support and investment in our housing teams.

In the recent Social Housing Green Paper, government also challenged our sector to further ‘professionalise’ housing management, and make sure that we provide a great customer experience, every day.

But I think we’ve been on that journey for some time, with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) leading the charge on this important issue.

And this week, it was fantastic to welcome our first cohort of apprentices, taking part in our new bespoke, CIH-accredited housing management qualification.

Designed collaboratively with the CIH, and tailored to Sovereign’s needs and the challenges we face, our first Level III course kicked off with a group of talented officers from lettings, housing, ASB teams, as well as support workers.

But it’ll also be available for our customer contact advisors too, for those who want to progress from the contact centre. I find our contact advisors, who deal with a huge range of issues every day are often incredibly knowledgeable, skilled and customer-focused people – we should harness and invest in them.

This week, it was just brilliant to see our apprentices get stuck into the new course and they’ll develop their skills, earn an industry-standard qualification – all while helping us provide a better service for our residents.

Alex, one of our lettings officers, said to me: “I feel like I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to come along. I know that I have genuine real-world experience in the housing sector, but now I will also have a respected qualification to back it up. This is proof of my knowledge and understanding of the sector.”

Over the next 18 months, they’ll learn about the Housing sector, where we came from, why we have a social purpose, the law and policy framework we work in and the key areas of housing practice. As well as developing their leadership and behaviours through courses on resilience, working with partners and delivering great service. All this will be woven around our Values, Behaviours, Policies, Customer Framework and Digital Strategy. This will give our teams the skill, knowledge and behaviours needed for the future.

But we’re not going to stop here though; we want to develop our future leaders in housing management.

We’ll keep working with the CIH to create the training courses and the career pathways so people have the chance to work anywhere from the frontline to the boardroom.

From here on in, all new starters will be offered the chance to take this qualification. This means that as well as a really innovative approach to development, we’re also making the most of our Apprenticeship Levy too. Many businesses are struggling to spend these funds, but I can’t think of a better way of investing that money than helping our dedicated housing teams be the best they can be.

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