Social housing provider Incommunities is celebrating its biggest graduate development programme yet.

Thirty-four young people have been recruited onto the programme and met up for the launch of cohort 10 of the award winning Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme.

The recruits came from housing and construction organisations across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and as far away as Canada.

The GEM Programme is run by the Centre for Partnership team – part of the Bradford-based Incommunities Group - and aims to fast track graduates who show leadership potential and strong social values into exciting careers in housing.

It is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing with recruits studying for a Level 4 qualification.

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities Group chief executive and chair of the Centre for Partnership, said: “The GEM programme goes from strength to strength and is celebrating a triple milestone in launching its biggest cohort yet, the largest mentoring training we’ve run and the fast track route to CIH chartered status.

“The programme is built on a proven track record of delivering real opportunities for young housing talent in the UK and beyond! The future is definitely looking bright.”

The latest cohort gathered at the University of Bradford’s Management Centre for two days of group work, case studies and a practical exercise covering the basics of different construction skills. Fifteen staff from the different partners running traineeships as part of cohort 10 were also given mentor training to support the individual GEMs in their workplace.

Among the new recruits is supported housing officer, George Kimmance, who has started on the GEM programme with six other colleagues from Plus Dane Housing on Merseyside. George was attracted to the programme after hearing great things about it from a former GEM student at a jobs fair. He said: “I’ve always been interested in moving into housing having worked part-time as a carer in supported living schemes helping people with different needs.”

Psychology graduate Clare Meehan, a community involvement officer with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, said: “I’m really interested in conflict resolution and feel the programme will give me a broader knowledge of the housing profession and also help me in my role in bringing communities together.