Graduates with a ‘can do’ attitude seeking a rewarding and challenging career in housing are being given the chance to apply for Hightown Housing Association’s Graduate Scheme.

Hightown is looking for motivated graduates who can demonstrate energy and enthusiasm together with good verbal and numerical reasoning, report writing and communication skills as well as the ability to use their own initiative.

Successful candidates will embark on a two-year training programme giving them experience of the full range of work carried out by Hemel Hempstead-based Hightown. Supported by line managers and mentors, they’ll have responsibility for their own projects with progress monitored against agreed objectives.

During their second year, they’ll be given the option to build on their experience with an extended placement in either one or two service areas. Towards the end of the scheme, they’ll have the opportunity to apply for permanent jobs at the growing organisation, with many eventually moving into senior management roles.

Former graduate trainees include Natalie Sturrock, who now has a senior role as Hightown’s Head of Housing. She joined the scheme in 2008 after graduating from Exeter University with a degree in sociology.

She said: “The programme gave me lots of experience in different areas of the business, which helped me to develop my understanding of the whole organisation. I had a mentor who was able to offer advice and support, but also found all staff were friendly and supportive.”

Building on her interest in the customer-facing side of housing, she became a Home Ownership Officer in 2010. After a number of promotions from there, she took up her current post in 2015 and now has overall responsibility for Hightown’s housing management, lettings and income recovery services.

She added: “The scheme gave me a strong foundation of skills, knowledge and experience that have enabled me to pursue a successful career in housing and achieve a senior position at Hightown.”

Current Graduate Trainee Ben Cottingham joined after graduating with a degree in English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. He said: “I’ve been given real responsibility from day one, and had the opportunity to work as part of enthusiastic and supportive teams who have pushed me out of my comfort zone to work through a range of challenges.

“Working in different departments has given me a greater understanding of how a variety of roles interact, and ultimately, how this helps our tenants or service users. It has also allowed me to grow as an individual, as well as gain an insight into Hightown’s drive to provide affordable homes and support people in housing need.”

Reuel Thompson entered the current scheme after graduating with a law degree from Dundee University followed by a spell of travelling and then temporarily pursuing other career paths.

He said: “What appealed to me most about Hightown was the opportunity to learn about the housing industry, as well as the flexibility and variety of tasks which graduates can be given.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the scheme – especially the project work which gives you the opportunity to speak with the Directors and present your work and findings in a professional manner. The support you receive is first class, with regular one-to-one’s and invaluable feedback.”

The closing date for applicants for the scheme, which has a starting salary of £21,441, is 5pm on 31st May.

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