Recession pressures skills of housing professionals

The survey, undertaken by an independent research company on behalf of CIH, involved in-depth surveys with 150 human resource professionals and senior executives working in ALMOS, housing associations and stock holding local authorities. Housing associations expect to be least affected by the recession (62%), followed by ALMOs (76%). Nearly all local authorities (92%) expect to be affected.

By the end of last year, a quarter of respondents had reduced their externally provided training. Approaching one fifth of respondents (17%) had incurred a reduction in the value of their training budget and others reported they were training fewer people (17%). To compensate, nearly a third (31%) of respondents indicated that they had increased the amount of training they deliver themselves.

CIH Director of Professional Development, Martin Winn, said: "Our research indicates that housing organisations are already looking closely at their learning and development activities and some budgets are already being affected.

"Although the impact has been less than we might have expected, no one is sure when the economy will fully recover from the recession and what it means for public finances. We are urging housing organisations to think carefully about making short term cuts in training budgets, which may store up long-term problems for the housing sector.

"Investment in skills will be vital to meet demands for efficiency, effectiveness and innovation. It is also essential that housing professionals develop the skills they will need to provide the best possible service in future to ensure that we create places where residents want to live and work. There is a real danger that what may start out as temporary or short-term cuts in training and development, could turn into a major under-investment in skills spanning an entire generation of housing professionals. If this happens we will have failed the people that we seek to serve."

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