University partnership

Scotland’s 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 past 12 months, Kingdom Housing Association has provided sponsorship allowing employees to complete a MSc/diploma with Stirling. The relationship provides new graduates with the opportunity to up-skill and participate in further academic learning while also working in housing. The partnership has been so successful, Kingdom 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 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, 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 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 approach. We have also seen the skills and confidence of students feeding through to enhance front-line services.”

Dr Vikki McCall, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing, said: “This has been a key partnership for us in the creation of a new graduate and postgraduate apprenticeship scheme. 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 diploma. Working together like this helps support and strengthen the professionalisation of the housing sector.”

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