Chris Mathieson: Celebrating careers in housing
With Scottish Housing Day coming up this week, Grampian Housing Association’s head of people experience Chris Mathieson celebrates housing as a career and outlines Grampian’s learning and development initiatives.
This Scottish Housing Day, we want to celebrate the commitment, professionalism, and personal values which drive the contribution of people working in our sector, and which they showcase through the delivery of person-centred support every day.
Quality affordable housing remains of systemic importance to Scotland, and for the people who establish their homes in our properties. The full return of the contribution social landlords create for communities and local economies is immeasurable.
But the Scottish social housing sector’s impressive track record and its bold plans for the future would not be possible without our people.
In the almost 20 years I’ve worked in the sector, it’s both heartening, and indeed inspiring to see the reputation and profile of housing shine brighter than ever – a career as a housing professional is something we can, and should all be proud of.
We hear talk of Scotland following the English model, where it is now compulsory for social housing managers to be qualified. Speaking personally, I believe the Scottish sector has nothing to fear from any drive towards increased professionalism precisely because of existing high standards of excellence evident north of the border. Us Scots are modest, but nevertheless, we should continue to do everything we can to showcase and project the excellence of our Scottish sector – where we genuinely aspire to place people at the centre.
In terms of developing our people, the CIH have highlighted the particular skill set and knowledge required for a career in housing, and the need to keep these fresh and relevant. Taken together, the CIH Professional Standards, and the Frontline Futures Report 2014 provide a route map to excellence which remains as relevant to housing professionals today – in every area of the business - as the day they were written.
People professionals in housing know that the current labour market is exceptionally tight; and although partnership working is a vibrant lifeline between RSLs; all organisations are seeking to raise their profile as an employer of choice. In an era where applicants are assessing us, as much as we are assessing them – a commitment to lifelong workplace learning as part of a comprehensive Employee Value Proposition can help organisations stand out, to be that employer of choice and ultimately win the war for talent.
At Grampian, we’re proud that commitment to lifelong learning sits as the keystone of our current People Strategy. Learning and Development is one of the main pillars of our employee performance conversation framework – Great Growth with Grampian – an initiative co-created with colleagues, for colleagues.
Coupled with innovative approaches to colleague wellbeing and resilience; initiatives to foster a culture of recognition and appreciation – we believe that we are nurturing, supporting and developing our staff. Whether through formal sector qualifications such as CIH, ILM or CIPD; accessing recognised SVQ qualifications via Grampian’s partnership with The Skills Network; or a host of workplace opportunities, our colleagues are embracing the opportunities offered – with 89% in 2022 understanding their responsibility to pursue their own development.
That’s why Grampian is delighted to launch GOALS (Growth, Opportunity, Achievement, Learning) our new learning and development centre of excellence. Drawing all our learning and development offerings together into one initiative, we are demonstrating our commitment to individual learning and development, equipping and supporting colleagues to achieve great growth during their time with Grampian. Every colleague is a fully-fledged ‘student’ simply by virtue of their employment with us.
True to our commitment to our customers and communities, GOALS not only services our colleagues but also our tenants by pulling together the range of employability opportunities Grampian currently offers.
At Grampian, we believe this commitment to learning helps us remain true to our purpose, our business and people plan and validates the generous investment we offer all our people. Perhaps more importantly we’re upholding what CIPD call ‘good work’ – that good employment is fundamental to individual wellbeing, supports a strong, fair society, and creates motivated workers, productive organisations and a strong economy.