The University of Stirling is celebrating the first year of an innovative industry partnership formed to improve the employability of Housing Studies students.
Over the last 12 months, Kingdom Housing Association – a specialist in affordable housing – has provided sponsorship allowing employees to complete a MSc/diploma in Housing Studies 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, it led the company to support Stirling’s research looking at the impact of COVID on the Scottish housing sector.
Other students studying on the Housing Studies course have also benefited from the partnership, with Interim Director of Housing Mathew Busher and other senior staff, giving a presentation on the organisation’s homelessness work including their Naumann Initiative project to deliver employability for homeless applicants.
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing
It’s allowed 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
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.
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”.
Kingdom Housing Association will allow current and upcoming students to gain diverse experience of working in the sector including learning about providing housing support, supporting tenants, managing a team and leadership experience.
Matthew Busher, Interim Director of Housing at Kingdom, 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.”