01 Feb 2024

Housing apprenticeships in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week, 5-9 February 2024, will be celebrated by a range of stakeholders including local councils, employers, further education colleges, universities, private training providers and others.

Over the week, CIH Northern Ireland and CIH Futures Northern Ireland will be attending various events to promote and highlight a career in housing. You can catch us at Northern Regional College, Newtownabbey on Wednesday 7 Feb, 16:00-20:00 and North West Regional College, Strand Road Thursday 8 Feb 10:00-16:00.

Insight into the Northern Ireland housing apprenticeship

In 2023, the Northern Ireland housing sector welcomed the launch of the apprenticeship in housing practice. After many years of collaboration with North West Regional College, six organisations recruited 17 apprentices among them, to embark on a two-year apprenticeship in housing practice that would result in each person achieving Level 3 Certificate in Housing and the Level 3 Certificate in Housing Practice with OCN and CIH.

This course is aimed at those already employed in the housing sector (a provider or association), as a housing officer or administrator and who wish to develop their knowledge and skills to enable progression within their chosen area of work or in a specialist area. The qualification focuses on the technical skills and knowledge required of a professional housing officer. Units of study include, understanding the housing sector, professional practice skills, customer service, managing leasehold housing properties and managing empty properties which underpin high quality housing practice care, and the role of the Housing Officer in meeting service users’ needs.

Aodhan Thompson  |  current housing apprentice at Newington Housing Association

Aodhan Thompson

“Taking up the apprenticeship with Newington Housing Association has been a huge eye-opener for me.  I thought I knew what a housing association was, but I appreciate now I didn’t understand the level and depth of work. I had little to no idea about social housing when I joined last January, whereas now, I have broadened my knowledge and have been exposed to all areas of work within Newington and I feel more confident taking calls and assisting people when needed.

I felt so welcome and included by the team at Newington and everyone made me feel at home and I haven’t looked back. It's safe to say since joining I have had a great work/life balance as well as being at my happiest. 

Doing the CIH course at North West Regional College has also been a positive experience challenging me and developing my knowledge.  As well as being able to meet up with the other apprentices, have discussions on housing topics and work in a team to deliver presentations.  This has helped me build on a variety of skills such as teamwork and inter-personal, also my confidence has got noticeably better over these past couple of months.

Being in the world of housing has completely changed me as a character, just the little things that I have noticed day in and day out I feel I treat people with much more empathy and respect without even realising it.

I have found I belong in this line of work because I'm an empathetic person and working in housing has enabled me to see this.”

Would you like to know more about the housing apprenticeship? Contact Julie.steele@cih.org for more information.