Housing association hails success of university partnership

Clockwise from top left: Matthew Busher, Grant McManus, Eilidh MacDonald and Dr Vikki McCall

KINGDOM Housing Association has announced it is celebrating the first year of a partnership with the University of Stirling designed to improve the employment prospects of housing studies students.

The housing association has provided sponsorship over the past year, which has allowed employees to complete a MSc/diploma. The relationship provides new graduates with the opportunity to up-skill and participate in further academic learning whilst also working in housing.

Kingdom revealed the partnership has been so successful that it decided to support Stirling’s research looking at the impact of Covid-19 on the Scottish housing sector by contributing to research support.

Other students on the housing studies course have benefited 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 has 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, who is on the graduate trainee programme at Kingdom, added, “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.”

Dr Vikki McCall, senior lecturer in social policy and housing, commented, “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.”