Riverside partner with the GEM Programme to develop future housing leaders

Graduates involved with Incommunities' GEM Programme.

Riverside have partnered up with the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) Programme, the housing sector’s graduate training scheme, to help develop the housing leaders of the future.

Riverside, one of the UK’s largest social housing providers overseeing almost 56,000 homes in England and Scotland, will fill six places on the careers programme, which offers graduates a wide range of jobs and learning experiences with housing associations and councils.

Four of the places on the scheme will be linked to specially created new roles at Riverside while two will be based in existing positions at the housing association.

Geraldine Howley, chair of the GEM Programme and group chief executive of Incommunities, which supports the scheme, said: “We are delighted to welcome Riverside as a leading national player in the housing sector and we are proud to be helping them deliver their new talent strategy.

“Of importance to our partnership is the promotion of diversity and inclusion in Riverside and the housing sector more generally. Riverside are encouraging colleagues from BAME backgrounds to join the GEM Programme. It will be a key part of Riverside’s talent strategy and will boost diversity and encourage a culture of everyday innovation.”

Successful applicants will be recruited internally and externally by Riverside to take part in the GEM Programme for a period of 12 months.

The ‘GEMs’ chosen to participate in the programme will take on graduate level positions at Riverside covering areas including homelessness, assets, business information, and health and safety.

Applicants will be evaluated on their values, behaviours, and leadership potential in accordance with Riverside’s talent strategy.

Howley added: “The GEM Programme provides a unique vehicle for the recruitment and development of Riverside’s ‘future leaders’. It’s gratifying to play an important part in future proofing their organisation and grow the housing professionals and leaders of the future.”

Maxine Cousens, director of people and culture at Riverside, said: “We’re delighted to be working with GEM on launching our first graduate development programme in many years.

“There will be a total of six roles available, some of which are available to external and internal candidates and some of which are specifically to develop our own internal BAME talent.

“We hope the programme will help to develop and diversify our already fantastic Riverside team.”

The GEM Programme was launched by West Yorkshire in 2009 and has since expanded to attract recruits from across the UK and further afield. It also has exchange arrangements in place with partners in Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)-accredited scheme sees all graduates studying for a level 4 CIH qualification, while 95% of participants are offered jobs by their partner organisations at the end of the programme. Over 300 GEMs have secured jobs in housing since 2009.

Partner organisations represented by GEMs on the current programme include Incommunities, Homes England, the Wheatley Group, United Living, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, and Hume Housing in Australia.

Last month, Geraldine Howley confirmed her plans to retire as Incommunities’ chief executive at the end of this year after serving in the role for 17 years.

Image: Graduates involved with Incommunities’ GEM Programme. Credit: Incommunities

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