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Tomorrow's housing stars helped on the career ladder

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Tomorrow's housing stars helped on the career ladder

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing

GEM GEM

A housing association's course is helping eight students take the first steps that will hopefully lead to a career in housing.

Incommunities Junior Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme is teaching the group of sixth formers about the different elements of housing on a one-year study programme, involving classroom-based learning and work shadowing. And next year they will take part in work placements with the housing group.

The training is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and each student follows the programme alongside their A-level studies. They are assessed by course work and classroom tasks.

After two years of study, the students will come out with a CIH Level 3 qualification and have the option of progressing to the next level – the equivalent of a foundation degree.

The GEM programme was started in 2009 as a career building scheme for unemployed graduates.

In four years it has grown from being a West Yorkshire-based programme to a national one. Over 30 housing associations right across the country now provide traineeships and 30 universities ‘sign post’ students to the programme.

Seventy-three graduates have been helped into careers – the majority in the housing sector - and in the last two programmes every participant secured work contracts after their placements.

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities group chief executive, said: “Everyone is really excited about the start of the Junior GEM programme and are thrilled that Tong High School are taking part.

“In a short time GEM has developed into a high quality programme designed to equip each participant to become leaders of the future. I am proud that it has developed a national and international presence.

“The beauty of Junior GEM is that it offers an alternative career path to going to university which leads to professional chartered status. This is about building the concept of the Incommunities’ ‘University of Work'."

Trude Feiweles, Associate Head teacher, Tong High School, said: “Our aim at Tong High School is to ensure from the outset that all pupils not only gain the qualifications at the highest level they need to pursue their chosen career, but also the professional and personal skills required.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Incommunities on the pilot of a ‘junior’ GEM programme for our ‘A’ level students and excited to see this partnership continue to grow.”

Incommunities is Bradford's largest social landlord, managing around 22,500 homes.

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