Kingdom Housing Association is celebrating the first year of an innovative industry partnership with the University of Stirling formed to improve the employability of Housing Studies students.
Over the last 12 months, Kingdom Housing Association has provided sponsorship allowing employees to complete an MSc/diploma with Stirling. The relationship provides new graduates with the opportunity to up-skill and participate in further academic learning whilst also working in housing.
The partnership has been so successful, Kingdom decided to support Stirling’s research looking at the impact of COVID on the Scottish housing sector by contributing to research support.
Other students studying on the Housing Studies course have also benefitted from the partnership, with interim director of housing Matthew Busher and interim director of HR Andrew Latto, providing presentations on the organisation’s homelessness work including Kingdom’s Naumann Initiative project to provide positive employability outcomes for homeless applicants.
The scheme, which is set to continue for 2020/21, has now been expanded to include an internship scheme for new students joining the course this autumn.
Matthew Busher said: “We launched our Graduate Trainee Programme in 2019 with an aim to support graduates to develop into housing professionals and leaders for the future through a blend of practical work experience including external work placements, underpinned by Postgraduate Study through the University of Stirling.
“One year in we are already seeing real added value to the learning opportunities and development of students through the partnership approach. In addition, we have also seen the skills, knowledge and confidence of students feeding through to enhance front-line services.”
Grant McManus is on the graduate trainee programme at Kingdom and said: “Having arrived in the sector with a limited housing background, the opportunity to complete a PGdip in Housing Studies alongside my full-time responsibilities has been invaluable. Kingdom’s graduate programme offers the unique opportunity to explore the sector through a number of internal and external placements, with the variety of modules covered within the PGdip complementing this greatly.
“Studying in a part-time capacity is both manageable and enjoyable, and has allowed me the opportunity to immediately apply my learning. This has undoubtedly increased my confidence, developed my skills, and has led me to make more meaningful contributions within the working environment. I’m really looking forward to starting my final year of the diploma in October.”
Dr Vikki McCall, senior lecturer in Social Policy and Housing, said: “This has been a key partnership for us in the creation of what could perhaps be described as a new graduate and postgraduate Apprenticeship scheme.
“It’s allowed the opportunity for those already working in housing to receive extra training and develop research skills, and will now allow new students without a practical background in housing, the opportunity of real, hands-on experience over the course of their Housing Studies diploma. Working together like this helps support and strengthen the professionalisation of the housing sector.”