How did you first hear about jobs in housing?
I was always aware of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and the services it offered and had sometimes visited the local district office. I was always checking the local press and noticed the NIHE advertisement for temporary clerical officers. I was particularly interested in it as it specified vacancies in my local area.
How did you find further information about a career in housing?
I didn't really have easy access to the internet at that time so I made a phone call to the Information Department. The person I spoke to was very informative and indicated that there was lots of opportunity for career development.
What was it that appealed to you when you were thinking about a job in housing?
The organisation! It had a good reputation and I saw it as a very sound opportunity to enhance my career. I also felt that it would offer me job security.
How did you get your first job in housing?
I applied after seeing the job advert, was interviewed, put on a waiting list and a very short time later received a letter offering me a post at my local office.
On my first day there were two jobs available - one in accounts and one in housing. After hearing more about what the housing job entailed I felt that it would suit me best as it would give the opportunity to work in an entirely new field.
What personal skills and qualifications did you have that helped you secure your first job in housing?
My IT qualifications certainly appeared to help me secure the post. I enjoy meeting people, am a good listener and try to demonstrate sympathy and understanding.
Because I knew and lived in the area where I was placed I felt I understood our customers and their needs. It also enabled me to give advice and guidance about the local area.
What skills & training have you gained since you have had your job in housing?
I am currently studying for my Level 3 Certificate in Housing, through the Post Entry Training Facility (PETF) scheme. Through this scheme the Housing Executive pays for the course and provides support for learning. Working in my current role has developed my skills in dealing with difficult situations and customers.
I have also attended formal courses on:
Describe a typical day?
There is no typical day at the hostel. As this is a Housing Executive hostel, referrals must come from a district office, normally when someone has presented as homeless.
I am there to answer any queries our residents may have, help them to complete forms and direct them to local facilities. I also give help and advice and provide support. Where assistance is needed I take people to appointments or local facilities. When a resident leaves the hostel I have housekeeping to complete in the accommodation.
I am on call at night every two weeks. The type of incidents I have to respond to are fire alarms activations, emergency repairs, requests to deal with anti social behaviour or contacting the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
What would you tell people who are interested in a housing career?
I have found my housing career, to date, very interesting. This is the reason I signed up for my Chartered Institute of Housing course.
There is flexible working which can be a great advantage, especially to those with families. I can honestly say my career has been varied, rewarding and enjoyable so far.