A KEIGHLEY social housing group’s acclaimed learning initiative has achieved another milestone.

Twenty-five young people have successfully completed the latest programmes run by Incommunities, aimed at helping them build successful careers in the housing sector.

A number of students from cohort eight of the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) initiative joined young people who had completed a junior version, for an awards presentation.

The GEM programme – a 12-month scheme run by Incommunities’ centre for partnership team – includes paid traineeships with a range of housing associations and councils in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as Canada.

It is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities’ group chief executive and chairman of the centre for partnership, presented CIH Level 3 and 4 certificates to the successful students.

And she praised them for their efforts.

“I would like to congratulate all our successful GEM and junior GEM students on their outstanding success,” she said.

“The programme has a proven track record of delivering real opportunities for young people to build exciting careers in housing and it continues to expand.

“We are now delivering our ninth graduate programme, involving nine partners across the UK and Canada.

“The future is definitely looking bright.”

Among the successful students was Lily Feasby, who works as a leasehold services officer for Yorkshire Housing.

She said: “My GEM experience has been very rewarding.

“As part of my traineeship I worked for Incommunities’ leasehold team, and completing the programme enabled me to move on to secure a great job with another leading housing group.

“The programme has been brilliant in opening the door to a career in housing for me and many other GEMs.”

Since 2009, 97 graduates have completed the GEM qualification and are now working in the housing sector.

Trevor Smith, director of the centre for partnership, said: “Going forward, our aim remains focused on supporting many more graduates - turning them from talented students into shining GEMs.”