Futures believes in investing in people and developing our own talent. As part of this we've run a graduate employment scheme in partnership with the GEM programme since 2019. GEM is a leading scheme for graduates wanting to kick start their careers in the housing world. Over two years, participants get real-life work experience with Futures backed up by a broad learning and development programme.
Don't just take our word for it that we offer graduates great opportunities. Read on to hear what recent Futures recruits Charlie Jordan and Steph Quinn have to say about joining us after university.
I finished my English degree at the University of Nottingham in 2021. Like a lot of graduates who study such a broad subject like English, I was uncertain about where I wanted to take my career. So, I started to research, and the housing sector piqued my interest. The sector isn’t really discussed at university as a career opportunity. However, this is unjustified because I quickly discovered that it offers such a wide range of opportunities covering lots of skills, such as finance, comms, development and digital.
I decided to apply for an information governance role on Futures’ graduate scheme. Data quality and data governance are becoming increasingly important in the sector, so this seemed like an exciting opportunity to be able to put my own stamp on things. The prospect to join Futures alongside working towards a qualification, a CIH Level 4 Certificate in Housing, seemed like a win-win.
The GEM programme
Being in the GEM Programme means that you get to undertake the housing qualification, plus so much more. It’s perfect for graduates as it supports a smooth transition from university to the world of work. It’s like university in that you work towards a qualification, spend time away from home, and you can network and socialise with new people. The studying gives you a broad overview of the sector, including professional practice skills for housing, buildings, communities, the environment, housing policy, housing law and finance for housing.
We’re also invited to events across the UK called ‘GEM Shacks’. These supplement and go beyond the qualification, covering topics like homelessness, leadership, social regeneration, 21st century communities and equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). I’ve been able to visit places like Westminster, Glasgow and Belfast, and meet senior leaders in the housing sector and MPs. I’ve even climbed Snowdon with my fellow GEMs at Futures to raise money for a local homelessness charity. This year, I’ve also been to Amsterdam to learn more about housing in the Netherlands.
Since I joined Futures, I’ve been working on a project to improve our data quality and ensure that we have a joined-up approach to how we look after our information. This has involved working with different teams to understand their processes and helping them to mitigate data-related risks. I’m now even delivering some data accuracy training. Getting our data right is pivotal to ensuring that we’re able to deliver a great customer service. After completing the GEM Programme, I got a permanent position as an Information Governance Coordinator.
Being part of the Futures family
I love the culture at Futures. While I feel very supported and have a fantastic team around me, the graduates are given lots of responsibility. If you work hard and put yourself out there, you can drive your own personal development. For example, I was recently invited to give a presentation at our Group Audit & Risk Committee. We also have lots of experienced mentors who can support your personal development as well as training opportunities such as mental health first aid, carbon literacy, EDI and plain English. You also have freedom to spend time with different teams to learn about what they do. Soon I’ll be joining our inhouse Leadership Academy to help me develop as a person of influence.
I’ve really enjoyed my time at Futures so far. However, there’s so much more that I want to achieve, and I feel determined to succeed. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my Futures journey.
After graduating university, you have so many different options to consider… A graduate programme was always my first choice as they open so many opportunities to learn, develop professionally and personally and meet like-minded people.
After graduating in Environmental Science from Sheffield Hallam University in 2020, I knew I wanted to find a role where I could help people and the planet, but I didn’t have a clear career path in mind. I started working as a healthcare assistant for a local mental health hospital after university, which was a real eye-opener. Despite the challenges of working in care during the pandemic, I found it very rewarding helping young people gain independence. This experience also solidified my own values and beliefs: that everyone has a right to healthcare and a place to call home.
The opportunity to join Futures’ Graduate Scheme in a new role which combined low carbon, energy and sustainability projects caught my attention! I was also intrigued by the GEM Programme (see below) and the opportunity to continue my learning as a graduate. I’ve always been interested in the relationship between people and place, yet I never thought about a career in social housing! I remember researching Futures, the GEM Programme and the housing crisis. I could sense the passion and determination from the people in the sector, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it!
The GEM programme
The GEM programme unites housing professionals at the start of their careers and those with more experience through the Talent in House route. The programme helps to shape a wider view of the housing sector beyond my role, through the CIH qualification and diverse ‘GEM Shack’ events. The first GEM Shack on homelessness was really moving, and it has inspired GEMs to create meaningful ways to help tackle homelessness through the David Tovey Challenge.
I’m particularly excited for the 21st Century Sustainable Communities GEM Shack later this year and I’m hopeful that I can meet my fellow GEMs in person. The CIH Level 4 Certificate in Housing is developing my knowledge in housing law, policy and finance, buildings, communities and environment, equality and diversity and housing professionalism. On the other hand, I am building my network and developing my leadership skills through collaborative workshops with other GEMs and our Dutch colleagues.
My role at Futures
As a new role to the organisation, there is lots of scope to shape my workstream which is really exciting! Part of the role involves researching new sustainable technologies and approaches and evaluating their suitability for Futures. As sustainability spans the entire business, I am excited to collaborate with more people to deliver a sustainability strategy that is purposeful to Futures customers, colleagues and communities.
Since joining Futures, I have felt continuously trusted and supported. I have been pleasantly surprised at the level of responsibility within my role and I am excited to work on varied projects. Everyone I have met so far has been kind and welcoming! I feel very fortunate to be part of an ambitious organisation that trusts it employees, empowers its customers and cares about its communities.
To find out more about the work Steph and her colleagues have done to improve sustainability at Futures, click here.
(In May 2023 Steph moved on to an exciting new role in London but she believes that Futures' graduate scheme helped her to build the foundations of her new career. While she is no longer a working member of the Futures family we continue to share her story here to help inspire the next generation of graduates to join us.)