As part of our ‘A Spotlight on’ series, Engagement Officer, Eleanor Speer, sat down for a chat with Scott Tandy, Digital Inclusion Officer at Newydd Housing Association, to discuss their Tenancy Ready Classroom initiative and the impact of this new digital inclusion program on the sector.  

A Spotlight On: The Tenancy Ready Course at Newydd Housing Association

As part of our ‘A Spotlight on’ series, Engagement Officer Eleanor Speer sat down for a chat with Scott Tandy, Digital Inclusion Officer at Newydd Housing Association, to discuss their Tenancy Ready Classroom initiative and the impact of this new digital inclusion program on the sector.  For anyone that may not know, the Tenancy Ready course is a short course designed to help tenants manage and live in a rented homes in Wales.

Can you tell us about how your involvement with this initiative began?

My involvement in Tenancy Ready began at the start of the pandemic when face to face engagement was not allowed and Newydd was looking for solutions to continue to inform our tenants of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant living in a Newydd property.

After researching several options, I thought a Google Classroom would be the best solution, as schools at the time were also using this method to teach pupils so I thought there could be a possibility of any children in this scenario supporting their parents with the course.

Who was involved?

The course was developed with the support of several teams at Newydd including the Community team, Housing and Financial Inclusion team. 250 tenants completed the course during the pandemic, and the feedback we received was very positive.

The 30-minute course covered topics such as their tenancy agreement, the responsibilities of tenants and landlords, property maintenance, financial responsibilities, budgeting, and available support. Upon completion of the knowledge quiz, tenants received either a passing or failing grade and, for those who passed, a certificate of achievement was generated and sent out.

It sounds like a brilliant program and to see so many tenants have already been involved is fantastic. Have you found any difficulties with the process so far?

The course had its challenges, including the requirement for a Google account to access the classroom, as well as some tenants did not have access to digital devices or the internet so they could not complete the course.

As this was launched during the pandemic, how have you updated the course to reflect the latest issues in housing?

To keep the course up-to-date with the latest housing information, I updated the content to reflect the Renting Homes Wales Act with the support from industry experts, including Nathan Williams at Promo Cymru and Gemma Murphy at Centre for Digital Public Services. We also received support from housing experts in Newydd, alongside several other registered social landlords across Wales. We decided to use Notion as an alternative to Google Classroom and Power Automate as a tool to automating the workflow. The updated course has received positive feedback from internal staff.

The course has been through so much development since it’s launch, where would you like to take it next?

We have begun work with Community and Housing teams to test it amongst tenants and look to get feedback on accessibility, content and if they find the course beneficial.

We have recently begun to onboard our tenants onto the course. After following up with some of the tenants that has completed the course, their key points of feedback included easy to access, easy to navigate, that the information was easy to read and understand, their grade was visible right away, and the certificate was provided instantly, which resolved some of the previous issues identified with Google Classrooms and staff interaction.

As we look to roll out the Tenancy Ready Classroom to all tenants within the eCymru partnership, the team and I will continue to seek feedback and address any issues to make the course a valuable resource for all tenants. If you would like more information, please visit the eCymru and Newydd websites for more information.

Thank you so much to Scott for his time to talk us through the Tenancy Ready Classroom Course. 

Our last 'A Spotlight On' interview is on our YouTube channel, which you can view by pressing this link.