Changing lives through accreditation: building futures with SKylight

In the world of social housing, Stockport Homes goes beyond bricks and mortar, actively shaping futures and creating opportunities for its residents.

Managing approximately 12,000 properties across Greater Manchester, Stockport Homes has become a cornerstone of support services and recently teamed up with NCFE to introduce a new accredited qualification.

Skylight is the charitable arm of Stockport Homes Group, and is dedicated to supporting people into employment.

We decided to explore the impact it’s already having on customers and the wider community.

The need for accreditation

The decision to collaborate with NCFE's Accreditation Services stemmed from Skylight’s commitment to providing free training opportunities for adults, focusing on employment, health, wellbeing, and community participation.

Christopher Hughes, Customer Training Officer at SKylight, explains: "Our aim is to guide our customers towards outcomes such as higher education, employment, voluntary work, community involvement, or improved health and wellbeing."

Recognising the limited awareness of the diverse employment opportunities within the housing sector, SKylight created the Introduction to Housing course. Hughes stressed its significance, stating: "The programme aims to develop their understanding and prepare them for the application process, and it already has a good record of helping people secure jobs."

Setting a standard

Seeking accreditation was a strategic move, designed to elevate the quality of training by setting a standard and providing valuable recognition to learners. In its first year, five people took part in the course, with the current cohort having six active participants.

Although still in its infancy, Hughes emphasises the uniqueness of the initiative: "To my knowledge, we’re the only housing provider offering this programme or something similar." While a Chartered Institute of Housing Level 3 course is available, this focuses on housing professionals rather than individuals taking their first steps into the sector.

Adele's journey

The tangible impact of the accredited qualification on Skylight’s customers is best illustrated through real stories, with Adele Stewart’s journey standing out. Hughes says: "The accredited qualification already has a good record for helping people into work, as we’ve had three learners gain employment at Stockport Homes after completing the course."

Adele, who now works as an Independent Living Assistant Apprentice at Stockport Homes Group, is a testament to the transformative power of the course. She explains: "I enjoyed taking part in the Introduction to Housing Course as, before starting, I knew nothing about the housing sector."

Her journey progressed beyond the classroom as she grasped the importance of social housing in the community and its impact on customers. Adele adds: "I enjoyed the course so much that I now work in housing, and I hope to continue my learning and progress in the sector."

Endorsement and collaboration

Asked about recommending NCFE's Accreditation team, Hughes left no room for doubt: "Yes, I would recommend NCFE to others as the customer service is excellent, the support is very good, and the processes are simple and straightforward to follow." Hughes highlighted the positive working relationship with NCFE, acknowledging its continuous support and helpful approach.

In the realm of SKylight, accreditation is not just a badge; it's a catalyst for change. Hughes concludes: "We feel that accreditation adds significant value to our programmes and enhances the achievements of our customers, many of whom are taking the first steps in their development pathway."

As SKylight continues to support its customers, Adele's success story serves as an inspiration, illustrating the transformative impact of thoughtful, accredited programmes on individuals and communities.

Learn more about our Accreditation and Employer Services or download our 5 simple steps to accreditation guide to find out how your organisation can get started.