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Training future housing leaders

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Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Education

Dr David Garnett, who helped to design the course Dr David Garnett, who helped to design the course

A brand new two-year foundation degree course has been launched, designed by experts from housing associations and local authorities across Gloucestershire in conjunction with their local university.

The course will attract those looking to further their personal and professional development in the world of housing management, and has earned the seal of approval from the Chartered Institute of Housing, in the form of accreditation.

Three housing associations – Two Rivers, Gloucester City and Cheltenham Borough – worked with Stroud District Council and academics at the University of Gloucestershire to develop the course.

Staff from all four organisations make up the first tranche of learners who are studying leadership and management, law and housing policy through a mixture of class-based activities, work-based learning and reflective practice.

Dr David Garnett, Chair of Two Rivers Housing and a retired university lecturer in housing, led the course design, and will be teaching several of the modules. He said: “This a challenging work-based course that will give participants the opportunity to develop their talents as potential future leaders of the housing profession.

“It also offers scope for local employers to work together to develop the sorts of education, training and research programmes that will be needed to be front-running housing providers in the 21st century”.

Carly Compton, Customer Service Co-ordinator at Two Rivers Housing, was keen to sign up for the course. She said: “I started to do a degree straight after my A levels, but quickly realised it was the wrong decision. However, now the time is right and it’s great to be able to do a course so relevant to my work. I wanted to learn how to put different leadership theories and ideas into practice and become a team leader people aspire to.

“The assignments are challenging but the thing I have enjoyed most is meeting other people, building up my networking group and learning from my peers.”

Chris Horwood, of Stroud District Council said: “The modules we are working on are really focussed on the work we do on a day-to-day basis and are really relevant. The input from the university, interaction with the tutors and the support from the student portal via the website is excellent. The course is enjoyable and interesting and the support I am getting from SDC is really good.”

Becky Hayward, Neighbourhood Services Manager at Gloucester City Homes said: “I always had it in mind to complete a qualification in my field to combine my experience in housing alongside a recognised qualification. I was apprehensive about taking on a degree due to the demands of work and home. I am enjoying the challenge it is providing and I am already gaining more confidence and applying what I am learning within my role and with my team of Housing Officers.

“I have not actively studied since leaving 6th form, quite a few years ago now, so getting back into the routine of study has needed effort, but I am enjoying the experience. The course is also allowing me to investigate other areas of service within my organisation and I am talking to different people in a bid to gain their insight. This is providing strength to existing work relationships and providing me with a deeper understanding about the different roles making up the strong team we have at Gloucester City Homes.”

Jane Harris, who works at Cheltenham Borough Homes, said: “It’s been a while since I have taken on any Further Education so this is a new and completely different experience for me. I missed out on the opportunity to do a degree when I was younger and feel this will enhance my knowledge and skills. It’s a challenging course and requires a lot of commitment from the individual, but the University and my employer have been really supportive.”

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