My learning journey: Stacey Dove
Stacey Dove, who works for Bradford-based Incommunities as part of the GEM (Graduate Employment Mentoring) programme, shares why housing can be the perfect fit for anyone passionate about social justice and human rights.
It was during the final months of my Masters degree in Applied Human Rights when I decided to pursue a career in housing.
Before returning to university, I worked as a magazine editor and journalist in the sustainable textiles industry, a role I’d held since completing an undergraduate degree in Journalism in 2012.
Developing my career in an ethics-focused sector inspired me to ensure future employment aligned to my social values – enter social housing.
My Masters study confirmed my belief that the majority of fundamental rights can’t be effectively enjoyed without a safe, stable and comfortable home, and living environments directly impact our health, education and family life.
The course grew my understanding of human rights, social justice and inequality issues – and passion for combating them – so I was thrilled to join the GEM programme and Incommunities as a policy and research analyst in October 2018.
Day-to-day, the role involves horizon scanning national housing policy news and developments, reviewing policy documents and researching best practice, working with involved customers, contributing to reports and presentations and supporting delivery of Incommunities’ equality, diversity and inclusion priorities and events.
Held throughout the year-long GEM programme, recent GEM Shacks have provided intensive dedicated learning opportunities on homelessness and social regeneration, as well as networking opportunities with housing professionals, including former GEMs.
I know from chatting to other GEMs how helpful these are in growing our career ambitions, identifying personal development opportunities and gaining insight into the variety of routes of progression in housing.
The GEM programme incorporates the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Level 4 qualification and includes CIH membership, which has already provided exciting opportunities such as attending The Big Conversation – co-hosted by CIH and the GEM Programme – earlier this year.
This conference really cemented that the next generation of housing professionals were in the room, and it was our job – not someone else’s – to challenge the status quo of the UK housing industry and actively address its biggest issues.
Throughout the short time I’ve worked at Incommunities, I’ve really valued discovering the many additional services offered by housing providers, including education, training and employment support, community building and the development of green spaces, which focus on improving lives as a whole – much broader than simply a place to live.
The social housing sector might not be your first thought when searching for a graduate role or career shift, but there are a wealth of job opportunities that lead into making a house a home.