Kingdom Housing Association hosts graduate trainee showcase
Kingdom Housing Association (KHA) held its first online graduate trainee showcase to a select group of guests from across the country and announced an expansion of the programme.
Launched in 2019, the graduate trainee scheme is an evolution of a wider trainee scheme created in 2015 as part of Kingdom’s Culture Change Programme with a key objective of developing future leaders.
The event was attended by staff, board members, students from the University of Stirling and representatives from the Chartered Institute of Housing, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and the Tenants Information Service and was opened by Kingdom Group chief executive Bill Banks.
The showcase allowed two of Kingdom’s graduate trainees to develop their presentation skills and reflect on the research projects they have been working on in partnership with the University of Stirling, specifically looking at the impacts of COVID-19 on the housing sector.
The virtual event also featured presentations from Matthew Busher, Kingdom’s interim director of housing, and from Dr Vikki McCall, senior lecturer in social policy and housing and deputy associate dean of learning and teaching for the faculty of social sciences at the University of Stirling.
Eilidh MacDonald, graduate trainee at Kingdom, said: “Having only been in my post for just over a year, I have already learnt more than I thought was possible. The blended model of learning that the traineeship offers is great. It has allowed me to develop my practical skills, while complementing my experiences with academic study.
“The external placements, such as this one with the University of Stirling and with CIH Scotland, have also helped to enhance my knowledge of the broader sector. In turn, my confidence has grown and I feel that I have been able to more purposely contribute to the work that I have been doing within Kingdom.
“This is why I chose to complete my research project on digital exclusion. Not only is it a prominent problem that disproportionately impacts social housing tenants, but it was closely linked to the work that I have been carrying out to help support tenants adjust to the changes that the pandemic has brought. I would like to thank everybody at Kingdom and the University who have made this possible.”
Grant McManus, fellow graduate trainee, added: “The traineeship has been great so far, offering myself and Eilidh the unique opportunity to explore the sector through a number of internal and external placements. On top of this, we’ve also had the opportunity to complete our PGdip in Housing Studies on a part-time basis, which has been both manageable and really enjoyable. I’ve seen real benefit in this blended approach as it has allowed me to immediately apply my learning, enabling me to make more meaningful contributions within the working environment.
“Resulting from Kingdoms partnership with the University of Stirling, we recently had the chance to conduct a piece of research looking at the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector. My research focussed on the impacts of COVID-19 on the repair and maintenance of Scotland’s existing affordable housing stock. This was a great learning experience, and allowed me to widen my knowledge by exploring an area of the sector I was relatively unfamiliar with.”
Bill Banks, Kingdom Group chief executive, said: “The graduate trainee showcase highlighted what can be gained through partnership and collaborative working and I was really impressed by both Grant and Eilidih’s presentations. The programme aims to develop future leaders who understand how the whole organisation and sector works. That’s why we designed the programme to have placements in all of Kingdom’s departments and with key external partners. We feel the programme has been a great success and next year we intend to recruit a further six trainees.”