The Sector Skills Council for the places where we live and work
Jonathan Zoil, Peabody Neighbourhood Manager
Jonathan Zoil has worked in housing for seven years. "When I was first thinking about jobs and careers while still at school I had no idea about this area of social housing. There are so many different jobs here: in finance, debt management, facilities management, cleaning, office admin and outreach work with our communities."
Stephanie Wood, Housing Assistant, Wigan and Leigh Housing
Stephanie Wood was studying hairdressing at college but was interested in applying for a Level 2 Housing Apprenticeship opportunity at Wigan and Leigh Housing Association.
Although she had no formal experience of working in housing, she had gained customer service skills from her previous job working in a restaurant. This was enough for her to be taken on as a housing apprentice.
Stephanie started the level 2 apprenticeship in 2008. The course took 18 months to complete and she then became a housing assistant.
Housing jobs and the recession - Eleanor Badham
Many people look to their housing association for advice across a variety of issues, and the recession means that they are increasingly looking for support in homelessness prevention and money advice. The sector has responded by developing new specialist functions.
Eleanor Badham is one of many housing officers performing this new type of role. She joined the Wales & West Housing Association (WWHA) as an Affordable Housing Development Officer and because of demand for financial help for existing home owners, her job became focused solely on offering a new mortgage rescue service for the association.
Housing jobs and the recession - Julie Vickers
At New Charter Housing Trust in Ashton-Under-Lyne, there is an increased focus on helping communities to manage their money more effectively.
The housing team required new skills in order to launch its financial advice services and support the move from a traditional approach of collecting arrears to a system of active advice and management.
An experienced welfare benefits adviser was employed and then the team got going with developing their skills in-house. Courses on finance and welfare benefits for its housing staff were run by local agencies building up networks of contacts as well as sharing experience and knowledge. New Charter now offers a spread of welfare benefits advice, debt counselling and support for tenants before they take on a home independently.
The apprenticeships helping the housing workforce meet new challenges
Unrelenting economic pressures and inevitable government changes to the focus of social housing work is creating new challenges for those working in the sector. With the spotlight firmly on the needs of tenants and a drive to promote active citizenship and social inclusion, the skills and talents organisations need to thrive in the housing world are changing rapidly.
Housing management has shifted away from an approach based on managing bricks and mortar and making sure that rents are paid on time. Now housing associations are about promoting sustainable communities and forming partnerships with other agencies to share resources and maximise investment into communities.
The new apprenticeships in housing are the most recent qualifications in the sector and have been developed to meet the new challenges faced by housing teams. On a par with A-Levels, they have been prepared by Asset Skills, the Sector Skills Council for housing, in conjunction with employers.
Tell us about your career in housing. We are always on the look out for new career case studies. Please download our questionnaire and return your case study to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
For more information on case studies, contact Jess Watson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07827 947 519.