Stirling housing student scoops top award
University of Stirling housing student Caitlin Kane has received a prestigious award after wowing industry judges with her work on housing law and policy.
Ms Kane who is studying an MSc in housing studies, was awarded the Malcolm Smith Memorial Award by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). The accolade is given for the best piece of work, with a focus on housing law and policy, during the last academic year by a student in Scotland.
The win marks two years in a row of success for Stirling, with last year’s winner also coming from the University.
Ms Kane, who is currently working as a parliamentary researcher, said: “My submission focused on housing policy around the Private Rented Sector and the opportunities, or lack of them, available to renters to shape and influence policy. I chose to focus on private renters because it is evident that many face exorbitant rents and awful living conditions, with an imbalance of power between tenant and landlord.
“Having worked in the Scottish Parliament for over three years, I have experience in dealing with and observing the policymaking process that all too often excludes the people impacted by the policies and legislation pursued in policy, political and parliamentary processes.
“Having my work chosen by my lecturers to be entered to this competition was honour enough, but to have won the prize is just brilliant.”
Professor Isobel Anderson, chair in housing studies at the University of Stirling, added: “We are really proud of Caitlin and the award is testimony to her hard work. She faced stiff competition, not only from her 44 fellow students, but from those studying on programmes at other Scottish Universities.
“This is one of the leading prizes for our sector and Caitlin is the latest in a long line of high performing Stirling students to have won this award. Many previous winners are now enjoying successful careers in housing.”
Ms Kane chose to pursue a qualification in housing having completed an internship as an undergraduate with a leading housing and property management group. Her role as a parliamentary researcher will end in May next year at the 2021 Holyrood election, but she’s keen to continue to pursue a role in the housing sector.
She said: “My current role working for a MSP has given me first-hand insight into the difficulties that many people have accessing affordable and decent housing. It seemed to me that if I wanted to pursue a career in housing, whether that be on the frontline or policy, that the course at Stirling would be invaluable and it has proven to be just that.
“I would love to continue to use the skills that I have accumulated during my time working in parliament by specifically focusing on housing policy and research. That being said, I believe that policy is always best informed by practical experience and so I may turn to working on the frontline in the social housing sector too.”
Ms Kane will receive a £100 cheque and a free place at the CIH virtual The Big Conversation taking place late 2020.