United Living GEM’s: where are they now?
National contractor United Living are proud supporters of the GEM Graduate Programme, a 12-month training scheme that provides those on it a chance to build a career in housing by direct exposure to the industry. This scheme involves group activities and assignments as well as an opportunity to obtain a Chartered Institute of Housing level 4 qualification.
Having recently welcomed a third intake of graduates, the previous GEM group are building upon the successes of the program and forging a career within the construction industry.
Jessica Quinn, Alex Howe, Reece Ramsey, Farouk Aouf and Walter Gwan-Nulla are all from this group, and work at various sites nationwide. They have a wide variety of skills and experiences gained both from their time with the course and the direct roles they have within United Living. Now the studying is complete, we look into what they are up to now and ask how the experiences from the GEM programme helped shape their early careers.
Farouk Aouf said: “I joined United Living in October 2017 and I was doing my level 4 CIH accreditation through the GEM programme, while working full-time on Wornington Green Phase 2a, a job for Catalyst Housing in West London. After the GEM journey has come to an end, I have continued working as a Graduate Site Manager at Wornington Green.
“I have recently started rotational training where I get to spend some time with different teams within United Living. I’m currently working with the pre-construction team on a big tender for a key developer in central London.”
Jessica Quinn said: “I am working as a Graduate Design Manager on the Sheffield City Council Adlington Road and Wordsworth Avenue projects located in Sheffield. I am currently completing my RIBA chartered status to become a qualified architect in September 2019. As a direct result of the GEM programme I am receiving greater project responsibility and I am more confident, with my presentation and public speaking skills improving.”
Alex Howe said: “I am still based on the Milton Keynes PRS scheme for The High Street Group and in September I started a part time degree in construction management. The GEM Programme helped me understand the need for a great diversity in housing development.”
Reece Ramsey said “I am currently working at Black Dog Way in Gloucester as a Trainee Assistant Site Manager. On site my main objective is to make sure the sub-contractors are fulfilling a high quality of works and rectifying works that are not good enough for United Living and Rooftop Housing. “Since completing my GEM programme it has given me the opportunity to network with professionals from different sectors and has made me more aware of homelessness around the UK.”
The second year GEM’s had been working throughout the 12 month programme on many ways to support and raise awareness of homelessness and they won ‘Group Homelessness Project of the Year’, after they presented the work to a panel of judges at the end of programme celebration event in October 2018.
Highlights included a group sponsored walk in Snowdon for Pillion Trust, a food donation box in Gloucester, pallet collection in Milton Keynes which were donated to make beds, a community fridge for donated food in Sheffield, organised craft workshops, donation of clothes and running the Sheffield 10K, with money raised donated to youth homeless charity Roundabout.
Farouk continued: “The GEM programme has been quite an eye-opener to different issues and problems that this country is facing i.e. homelessness. I have been introduced to housing laws and regulations and the procedures and terminology that evolve around them, which was overwhelming sometimes due to the extensive amount of information to absorb over the course. However, the journey was absolutely worth it as I’ve had the opportunity to meet inspirational and motivate people and to visit different cities within the UK.”
Georgina Uttley, GEM Operations Business Lead said: “We are very privileged to have United Living as a strategic partner. It is truly heartening to see the United Living GEMs growing and progressing in their roles and playing an essential part of United Living’s future”.