Newest Trainee Board Members Start Journey

25 September 2023
3 mins

Following the success of its first Trainee Board Programme, Platform Housing Group is proud to introduce its newest members, who started their trainee board journey earlier this month.

Parham Hashemi, Laurens de Rooij, Heidi Leyshon, Mikhaila Crosby and Nkechi Vivien Ashiedu joined the Trainee Board Programme in a bid to promote diversity within Board rooms within housing, each bringing with them unique and diverse perspectives, to reflect the organisation and those they serve.

All five members bring vast experience and skills to navigate them through their new roles within Platform.

Laurens de Rooij, originally from the Netherlands, joined the programme in a bid to help create positive living environments for customers across the Midlands. Having previously worked in homeless hostels and within supported housing for customers with complex mental health needs, he’s seen firsthand just how important a safe and secure home is.  Laurens explained “I joined the programme after witnessing some of the difficulties people face and the conditions they live with day to day, all without having a home to call their own.” He went on “there is a real need for housing up and down the country to cater to people’s needs and with my experience I hope to be able to bring a unique viewpoint on the housing crisis and ask the questions sometimes not thought about. I hope to bring real human stories to the table”.

Nkechi Vivien Ashiedu, applied for both personal and professional reasons bringing valuable lived experience. She explained “Living in social housing I’ve got firsthand experience of the challenges, needs and concerns of residents. This lived experience allows me to be an advocate for the best interests of the tenants and provides insights into daily realities faced by customers”.

With a keen interest to learn more about the sector Mikhaila Crosby joined in a hope to gain a deeper understanding of decisions made within the sector. She explained “Very few sectors have gone through the level of change that housing has since the 1970s and from a social, equality and justice perspective I find the unintended consequences of many of these changes to be frustrating. I hope that this role will give me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the sector so that I can better understand and identify opportunities and challenges that are emerging from Housing Associations and to learn how a Board would navigate them”.

The Platform Housing Group’s Trainee Board Programme runs for an initial two year period, with the option to extend for a further 2 years with the appointment to an Associate Committee member role. The programme gives members the insight into board room discussions, topics and access to experienced mentors to support their learning journey.

(Photographed from left to right: Parham Hashemi, Mikhaila Crosby, John Weguelin Chairman of the Board, Heidi Leyshon, Laurens de Rooij, Elizabeth Froude Platform Chief Executive and Nkechi Vivien Ashiedu)