Housing expert says colleges should offer housing management courses

by Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

Colleges should offer housing management courses to combat the housing crisis, according the CEO of the Irish Council of Social Housing.

CEO Donal McManus told the Irish Independent that the lack of any housing management or policy courses contributed to the low number of experts in Ireland.

Magee College dropped its housing management course in 2016, and since then no such courses have been available on the island.

McManus proposed a four year course with one year spent working on the job to improve the growing industry, which has “gone from 8,000 people working in the sector to 32,000.”

Having graduate in housing in the Northern Irish University of Ulster, McManus also emphasized the disparity between the number of housing experts in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

According to figures from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) given to the Irish Independent, Northern Ireland has 411 CIH members while Ireland only has 145. That’s an almost 65 per cent difference. Of those members, Northern Ireland has 113 chartered members compared to just 16 in Ireland.

McManus stressed the importance of the course as the sector becomes increasingly more complicated: “Better training, and encouraging more young people to join the sector at a young age, is vital to ensure housing management and policy in Ireland continues to improve.”

DCU currently offers no courses within the sector of urban planning.

Therefore, it is unclear which faculty would take on a housing management course. The former Magee course was run by the art, design and the built environment faculty.

According to the executive dean of DCU’s Business School, Anne Sinnott, housing policy would best fit under the school of law and government.

“Within the Business School areas such as economics, strategy and management would be relevant,” said Sinnott, “I would say that the majority programme proposals that I have experience of have received approval.”

However, she mentioned that the application process is thorough and that market research would need to be done to see if a demand for such a course exists.

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque