Meet the regional manager: Jill Allcoat - East Midlands, West Midlands and South West
We spoke to Jill Allcoat to find out more about her role at CIH and the work she is doing with CIH members in the East Midlands, West Midlands and South West.
Tell us a bit about your career to date.
I started off working in the further education sector. Prior to starting work at the Chartered Institute of Housing I was managing a local outreach centre for a local college. It was a really varied role, which was really interesting, it involved recruiting students to various courses, working with examinations boards and contracting lecturing staff amongst many other things. I’ve always felt really passionate about professionalism and learning and education and when I saw a vocational manager post at CIH coming up I was delighted when I was offered the post! In the time I’ve been at CIH I’ve managed CIH vocational programmes, lead on areas of membership and marketing as well as introducing and delivering many new membership services (among many other functions). I’ve always worked closely with our regional board to support them to deliver member value locally.
What do you do in your current role?
In my current role I am the regional manager for the East Midlands, West Midlands and the South West. The role is still relatively new and again is really varied, which is good. A big aspect of it is about employer engagement and engaging with members locally, it’s really important for CIH to have regional managers who are working more directly in the regions, talking to employers about the challenges they are facing and how CIH can support organisations and individuals in the sector and helping to raise the profile of CIH and the housing sector more locally.
What is an average day like?
It’s a bit of a cliché isn’t it, but no day is the same really, and it isn’t! I might spend time with an organisation discussing what their challenges are and discussing how CIH can support organisational development through membership, qualifications and training. I might also spend time with other networks in the region and building relationships. Some of the things I am currently working on include preparing for my attendance at a forthcoming organisation’s staff conference and talking about the value of professionalism, we’re also planning an event in the East Midlands which will focus on owning your future and building on the importance of CIH as the professional body, in the capacity of our influencing role and supporting members in their roles on a day-to-day basis. I’m also working with local member champions and board members to look at different ways on engaging with different groups of members.
What do you like most about working in housing?
Over time I’ve done a lots of work around careers in housing and I truly believe that if the sector comes together we can make housing more of a career of choice, working in housing is about homes, but we must remember, it’s about people! I was following the Times Best 100 companies to work for activity recently and it’s great to see how many housing organisations were represented. This is all down to the passion and commitment of all those working in the sector and their commitment in the drive to help ensure everyone does have a safe, affordable and warm place they can call home.
What is the best thing about working for the sector’s professional body?
I really enjoy working with members and helping members to network with other members and housing professionals. I enjoy being part of a profession where people are really committed to really making a difference, where they are able to influence and support others and as housing professionals are there to help one another, whether that’s in someone’s career or to share good practice in the workplace. Affordable and decent housing should be what everyone is able to access and our members are so committed to making this happen. I enjoy getting involved in developing new membership benefits, trying out some new initiatives and working in partnership with a range of housing professionals, board members and individual members and creating opportunities to raise the profile of CIH locally.
What do you think the biggest issues in housing in your region are at the moment?
Some of the major issues are of course the vast extend of homelessness, affordability and supply. As well as the roll out of universal credit and the issues that it creates for tenants and housing providers landlords. There’s a need to ensure that the housing that is available is affordable and of the right type of housing to meet the needs of the demographics in those local communities, whether in urban or rural areas. I think that the drive to encourage partnership working and more collaborative working is so paramount in many of the areas of work we’re working within is really important for us
Our regional manager roles are still quite new, why do you think it’s important we have representatives in each region and what do you hope to achieve in the role?
I think that it is really important to have a ‘face of CIH locally’. As the professional body for the sector it’s really important that members and employees know who their regional manager is. I hope to increase member engagement more locally, and that might be about members attending events, but it could also be about members getting more involved in other activities. I want to feel that individual members can pick up the telephone or drop me a quick email, if I can’t help I can direct them to someone who can. I’d like to think that we can help to create a CIH profile locally and raising the importance of housing issues on a local basis. I hope my role will help to really get a better understanding of the challenges facing employees and individual housing professionals, and how CIH can continue to support the sector now and in the future. I would love it if my role helped to spread the word about membership and the housing profession to others, and help to increase membership and in turn continuing to strengthening our member voice and influence.