Thirteen is pleased to be supporting the Housing Diversity Network’s (HDN) training programme for local people from underrepresented backgrounds to become potential future board members at housing associations in the North East.

Working in partnership with the HDN and local housing providers: Beyond Housing, North Star Housing Group and Gentoo, the two-year programme will see trainees from diverse and minority backgrounds develop their skills and knowledge to help them become board members of the future.

The programme, which is the first of its kind to be delivered in the North East, focuses on increasing diversity at board level. Applications were encouraged from people where their ethnicity is under-represented, people who are LGBTQ+, people with a disability, women, and young people, all of whom are significantly under-represented at board level, locally and nationally.

During the two-year programme, the twelve trainees will receive comprehensive training, shadow local committees and boards, and be supported by a mentor.

We’re sponsoring three of the trainees, giving them the opportunity to observe and contribute to board and committee meetings, so they can see how things happen and come to fruition. It will develop their confidence, allowing them to build networks whilst we and the other partners benefit from the trainees’ experience and insight.

Ian Wardle, chief executive at Thirteen, says, “We’re proud to welcome all the trainees on board, and we’re excited to be a part of a programme that’s creating opportunities for local people from underrepresented backgrounds to become the board members of tomorrow.

“We look forward to working with Thirteen’s nominated members, Behzad, Claire and Kayleigh, and seeing them develop into potential board or committee members.”

Claire Bell, diversity board trainee, says, “I’m thrilled to join the board member training programme and have the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills, helping me to become ‘board ready’.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to combine in-depth learning with the practical experience I’ll gain with Thirteen.

“Thirteen’s proactive approach to breaking down board membership barriers and increasing representation is commendable, and I’m excited to learn more about the business and how the board best serves the Thirteen community.”

Yvonne Davies, consultant for the Housing Diversity Network, adds, “I look forward to introducing the trainees to the world of housing, governance and regulation over the next two years. They will develop their skills, knowledge, constructive challenge, and diverse thinking, adding value to the boards in years to come, who have supported them in the years to come. This is a great programme to promote diversity on boards.”

Main pic: Thirteen’s nominated board members, Kayleigh, Behzad, and Claire pictured with chief executive Ian Wardle and Chair of the Thirteen Board, George Garlick