Working as a GEM graduate for United Living in the North
I have been working as a GEM graduate for United Living for the past year, and it has been a tremendous experience to develop myself professionally in the construction and housing sector. The Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) Program is a one year intense program by the Centre of Partnership, to develop future leaders in the housing sector while completing a CIH level 4 qualification (professional body of housing). This involves numerous GEMshacks, which are intense workshops that take place over the year covering a variety of housing topics. One such GEMshack was a visit to Westminster & Whitehall and meeting top decision makers in the housing sector.
What attracted me to United Living is their core values, especially the social gain aspect, as well as the embracement of new technology. It’s a definite morale booster knowing that projects by UL is leaving a positive social impact, by not only through housing, but also through community days, creation of local jobs, apprenticeships, and many other social activities. Furthermore, it’s always exciting to be part of an organisation that encompasses state of the art technologies, such as United Living does. Examples include:
- Kingston’s Heights using highly efficient innovative systems to use natural resources to provide heating solutions.
- City West Housing Trust transformation by installing UK’s first ECOPOD system to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 40%, and a massive average fuel cost reduction of 75% per week for tenants.
At United Living I had the incredible opportunity to experience many aspects of construction, through working with tenant liaison officers, site managers, and the commercial team. This was a huge help for me in making my decision of pursuing a career in the commercial department. The open space office environment and approachable nature of the staff, significantly helped me improve in my role, as there is always someone to ask for help and advice. As a result, not only have I developed specialist knowledge, but improved on a number of transferable skills such as networking, communication, and management skills. All of which will significantly boost my chances of furthering my career in the commercial department within the housing/construction sector.
Working in the North for United Living made me realise the huge number of opportunities available for progression in the future, especially since the Northern Powerhouse regions are second to only London in regards to construction activities. A current project by United Living is Newbridge Village development in Hull (commenced in 2017) – building 82 modern and attractive bungalows designed with dementia friendly considerations. This project demonstrates the quality and the opportunities available in the North for an excellent career progression.