How did you first hear about jobs in housing?
As a solicitor in private practice I have been involved in the wider aspects of housing and property law since qualification in 1995. In private practice I acted for clients and mortgage companies in buying and selling of residential and commercial properties. I also acted for landlords and tenants in the private rented sector and for tenants in the social rented sector.
How did you find further information about a career in housing?
I was aware of the work of Co-Ownership Housing® having acted for clients in the purchase of properties through Co-Ownership and in equity buy out of properties. I also found out information from their website.
What was it that appealed to you when you were thinking about a job in housing?
I knew that working for an organisation like Co-Ownership Housing® would enable me to further develop business skills in conjunction with a legal input.
How did you get your first job in housing?
I saw an application for an assistant legal adviser with Co-Ownership Housing® in a local newspaper and I applied for the post. I attended a competency based interview and was then offered the post.
What personal skills and qualifications did you have that helped you secure your first job in housing?
My background in property law was useful in that I acted for clients in sales and purchases for a number of years. I also had knowledge of the work of Co-Ownership Housing® from a solicitor's perspective. I also believe I have good presentational skills and people skills in dealing with clients and others.
What skills and training have you gained since you have had your job in housing?
I have to undertake continuing professional development each year. In my job in housing I have had the opportunity to attend courses and conferences both in the legal and housing fields. This has been useful in that it has given me an insight into the interaction between these areas.
I have also become a member of the Charted Institute of Housing (CIH) and sit on their Northern Ireland Board.
I recently completed the first Leadership in Housing course run by the CIH.
Describe a typical day
No two days are the same. I deal with queries raised by solicitors who are acting for Co-Ownership Housing® in the purchase of property. I also am involved in the drafting of our standard legal documentation and responses to consultation documents and advise in the development of procedures in the organisation. On occasion I am called upon to give both oral and written advice to the Board of Management and Senior Management Team.
What would you tell people who are interested in a housing career?
I would tell people to think seriously about it. It is a very rewarding, challenging and diverse career.