"A housing career gave me a greater understanding of people and their needs. It also offered me a great opportunity to gain valuable qualifications and skills."
How did you first hear about jobs in housing?
I knew a few people who already worked in housing and they said it offered a lot of variety and opportunities to do well. I also had contact with people living in Housing Executive homes so was aware of the need for, and the provision of, social housing.
How did you find further information about a career in housing?
I was working in the City Hospital as a filing clerk and had the qualifications that were required for the job. I also knew people who were Housing Executive tenants so I spoke to them about their experiences dealing with the NIHE. I also spoke to friends who already worked in the Housing Executive and they told me that it was a good place to work with plenty of opportunities. I got some background information from the recruitment team which I read before going to the interview.
At that time there was no such thing as the internet so information wasn't as readily available as it is now!
What was it that appealed to you when you were thinking about a job in housing?
It was a job that I was trained to do and I felt that I would have the correct skills to offer the Housing Executive. At the time I was working as a filing clerk and I wasn't using my typing skills or qualifications.
I also knew it was a secure job with the opportunity of advancement and training.
How did you get your first job in housing?
I saw an advert in the Belfast Telegraph for permanent opportunities for Clerk Typists within the NIHE. At the time I was thinking about studying to become a nurse but decided that I would like to try working in an office environment for a while before making my final decision. I applied for the job as a Clerk Typist and was successful.
What opportunities have you taken advantage off while working in housing?
Absolutely everything that came my way! And I still look for new challenges each day!
I started as clerk typist in internal audit where my job was re-evaluated to a higher grade Secretary. I successfully applied for a secondment to General Ledger, Finance, where I gained a broader understanding of the organisation and the financial systems controlling it.
After being successful in a promotion panel I decided that I would like a complete change of direction and moved to work in the District Office as a Housing Officer. This is a job that I absolutely loved - dealing with tenants, managing housing estates with over 500 houses, dealing with anti-social behaviour and helping in the community.
A housing officer is the point of contact between tenants and the Housing Executive. You meet people from all walks of life, from young adults starting out on their own, to vulnerable or elderly people who need extra support. It was during this time that I was inspired to study again and further my career in housing. This study gave me the opportunity to progress to Senior Housing Officer and gain valuable staff management skills.
Two years ago I was successful in the internal job trawl for Telephony Manager.
What skills & training have you gained since you have had your job in housing?
I have taken every opportunity for self development that has been presented to me and have completed formal courses in the following:
Through the Post Entry Training Facility (PETF), sponsored by the Housing Executive, I have completed:
Describe a typical day?
I now manage 27 staff working in telephony throughout the province so every day offers new challenges. The service we provide is for the whole organisation from the top to the bottom. Our customers are everybody who works for the Housing Executive and also everybody that contacts us.
I also provide training to staff throughout the organisation on telephony/switchboard issues. I am about to embark on a 'Telephony on Tour' Roadshow to troubleshoot problems and address telephony concerns within the organisation.
What would you tell people who are interested in a housing career?
Go for it! Take every opportunity that comes your way and look at everything in a positive light. A housing career gave me a greater understanding of people and their needs. It also offered me a great opportunity to gain valuable qualifications and skills.