New GEM programme welcomes Australian recruits

Two Australian housing officers are among the latest recruits to an internationally recognised development programme which is celebrating a decade in business and is supported by the Incommunities Group.

Keelin Byrne and Renee Gordon have joined nearly 50 budding housing leaders of the future on cohort 11 of the GEM programme.

The cohort – the biggest yet – also includes recruits from across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The GEM programme is a 12 month intensive learning programme run by the Centre for Partnership, part of the Incommunities Group. Since its launch in 2009 it has seen over 230 talented individuals secure prestigious jobs, mainly in the housing sector, and been supported by scores of housing association and public bodies.

Keelin and Renee work for Hume Community Housing, which manages over 4,500 homes in New South Wales.

They have been joined at their first GEM session by their mentor and colleague, Jacqueline Gaughan.

Keelin and Renee found out about the GEM programme through their Chief Executive’s links with Incommunities’ Chief Executive Geraldine Howley, who is Chair of the UK International Housing Partnership of sector leaders.

Keelin Byrne said: “I am delighted to be on the GEM programme. Being a GEM gives me the chance to broaden my learning, get an international view of the sector and also build links with other young UK housing professionals who share similar values to me.

“In some ways the Australian housing sector is very different but we also share similar challenges to the UK. It will be great to find out more about your approaches to areas such as a changing welfare system.”

Renee Gordon said: “When I heard about the GEM programme I wanted to apply straightaway. Coming to the UK and meeting young people working in the sector is a fantastic networking opportunity. It will be interesting to find out more about the UK approach to tackling homelessness.

“I am particularly looking forward to working towards a CIH professional qualification as part of the programme.

“A big thank you to Incommunities and GEM for hosting our visit which will give us a real insight into your policies and approaches.”

Incommunities’ Chief Executive Geraldine Howley, said: “We are delighted to welcome all our new GEMs and Keelin, Renee and Jacqueline on our latest cohort. This is a fabulous opportunity to make a name for yourself and take that next step into a rewarding career within the sector.

“It’s also a big year for the programme as it celebrates ten years growing from local roots in West Yorkshire to become an internationally recognised programme, attracting recruits from Canada, Hong Kong and now Australia.

“There are exciting times ahead as well as we look to take the GEM model to the next level which includes delivering the programme to Australia within the next three years.”

Trevor Smith, Director of the Centre for Partnership, said: “The GEM programme continues to go from strength to strength and forging more international partnerships is very much at the heart of our ambitions.

“We know housing is a global issue which needs a pipeline of talented young people to meet the challenges of the future and this is what we are passionate about doing.”