Cardiff Metropolitan University has been working in partnership with Taff Housing Association to provide a ten week Housing Studies course to community learners in Canton.
More than fifteen people completed the programme, which covered tutor-led learning and group discussions around housing legislation, policy and practice.
The course was delivered by staff from the Housing Studies course at Cardiff Met as part of the university's widening access agenda. It enabled tenants and residents seeking to get more involved in tenancy and housing issues to build their knowledge and learn how their new skills could be applied in the workplace, in voluntary positions or through further study.
The Widening Access team at Cardiff Met have worked in partnership with Taff Housing Association for a number of years. Their short taster programmes offer an academic understanding of issues relevant to many of their tenants and encourage individuals to look at their own life skills and how they could be used to progress to further study.
Clare Parry, Community Investment Officer at Taff Housing Association said: "Recognising the challenges our tenants face in seeking employment, Taff has consistently offered opportunities for our learners to engage with learning in a safe and supportive environment.
"Many of our tenants are very interested in housing and tenancy issues, and have personal experiences, which can be very valuable for future employment when combined with relevant study and qualifications. We have worked closely with Cardiff Met to offer this Introduction to Housing Studies taster course to both our own tenants and other community members who have shown an interest. This group has been particularly enthusiastic and it is always good to see individuals using opportunities like this as a springboard to go on to further structured study in a university setting."
Twenty six year old McKaylee Campbell from Cardiff completed the Housing course this week and is hoping to secure a place at Cardiff Met University next year to complete an adult foundation course in preparation for a degree in Housing Studies. She said: "I didn't have much schooling as a youngster and didn't leave with any qualifications. I really want to get an education now and get a better job. I would love to be a Housing Officer. This course has been a great opportunity to build my knowledge and my confidence before I sign up.
"I can relate to a lot of the issues we have covered, and understand how these can affect real people having been homeless myself in the past. I do voluntary work in a homeless hostel and feel that I have a lot of experience which will help me."
Heidi Beverstock is a Tenant Board Member with Taff and a representative on the Association's BME, Equality and Diversity, and Disability Awareness groups. She has completed a number of courses offered by Taff including the Introduction to Housing Studies taster course this week. She said: "I really enjoyed this course and particularly liked learning about all of the new laws around housing. I like to get involved in the activities that Taff offers tenants and always get a lot out of them.
"I struggle with my confidence but all of these courses help. I would love to use my knowledge to progress to further learning at university at some point."
Jane Mudd, Head of the Department of Applied Community Sciences at Cardiff Met is one of the team members who delivered the ten week course. She said:
"We have strong working relationships with a number of community groups and we are always keen to run courses like this to give people the opportunity to learn more about areas of interest in a relaxed and friendly environment. It is great news that a number of individuals from this group will be signing up to further study with Cardiff Met later this year. We will continue to support them throughout their learning journey.
"This has been a fantastic learner group and we have covered a lot of work but had fun at the same time. Our widening access team run a number of programmes to encourage people without experience of studying in Higher Education to sample learning with Cardiff Met. Some of these courses are accredited, and many people go on to sign up to further programmes. We are very grateful to Taff Housing Association for providing the venue for this course and look forward to the next programme."
For further information on future community-based courses offered by Cardiff Met, please visit: www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/partnerships/wideningaccess