The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is to ‘centralise’ its package of qualifications and training with the launch of its own housing academy in an effort to head off a potential skills shortage.
The organisation says the housing workforce is currently “more qualified than average”, but warned that it is also older, meaning there is a risk that skills will be lost as people retire.
Encouraging young people into housing is one of its top priorities, the organisation added. The launch of the CIH housing academy to bring all of its qualifications and training under one roof is part of the intention, with the move expected to “make things clearer for people whether they are just starting out or looking to progress their career”.
According to research the organisation commissioned last year, more than 750,000 people were employed in housing in 2013. Of those, 37% were aged 50 or older, compared with 28.6% of all people in employment.
The research also showed that the housing workforce is more highly qualified than average. More than half of the workforce (54.4%) have qualifications at degree level or above, well above the average among all people in employment (39.9%). People working in housing are more likely to be offered training by their employer than average, and are more likely to undertake job-related training.
“There is lots of brilliant young talent in housing – you only have to look at our Rising Stars or the graduates that come through the GEM programme – but we know we need to do more,” said CIH director of membership and education, Judy Waugh.
“As every housing professional knows, housing is a career where you can really make a difference to people’s lives, and I think we have a real opportunity to promote that to young people, who are increasingly motivated by social value and work that is ‘meaningful’ rather than money.”
The housing academy brings CIH qualifications and training courses – however they are delivered and in whatever location – under one roof.
Waugh added: “CIH is a learning and education organisation and the housing academy is about putting learning at the centre of what we do.
“Ultimately, CIH is all about providing learning for people across the sector at all levels, continuously improving standards in the profession, helping people to develop their careers and helping organisations to get the most out of their staff.
“We’ve set up the housing academy to improve the way we do that. We hope it will make it simpler for people who are looking at coming into the profession to understand where a career in housing can take them, what their options are for progression and what areas they can specialise in, through qualifications and training.”