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 (20th May).

They were presented with Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Level 3 and 4 certificates by Incommunities’ Group Chief Executive, Geraldine Howley, who is also the current President of the CIH.

The GEM Programme 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 the 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.”

Georgina Uttley, who went on to secure a job as a GEM Programme coordinator, added: “The programme has been brilliant in opening the door to a career in housing and an area I have been keen to work in.”

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

In 2013 the Centre for Partnership launched its first ever Junior GEM Programme, which saw eight sixth form students from Tong High School complete housing studies alongside working for their ‘A’ levels. The second programme has involved 12 students from both Tong High School and Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College studying for their CIH Level 3 qualifications.

Sarfraz Khan from Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College was also very positive about the Junior GEM programme. He said: “Taking part in GEM programme and doing a placement with Incommunities has really helped build my confidence, team skills and given me a unique insight into the housing sector.”

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group 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% of those completing the qualification are currently working within the housing sector. Nearly one-third of these GEMs are from BME backgrounds and 59% are female

Written on 7th June 2016Lillie Geistdorfer. Published in Members News, News