Claire's housing journey - New Housing Professional 2017
We asked our New Housing Professional finalists to blog for us on their housing journey, and what they think makes housing a rewarding career. Here's our first finalist, Claire Twamley from Cartrefi Conwy.
My journey into housing has been like a trip down the yellow brick road, full of surprises and unimaginable experiences. My career began as a Neighbourhood Management Trainee at Cartrefi Conwy in August 2015. In an instant, my passion and ambition for the Social Housing sector was ignited and a realisation that a house is much more than just four walls. The penny dropped for me during my time working in ‘frontline’ teams - Home Finder, Independent Living and Neighbourhood Management.
A previous voluntary role as Cadet Instructor within the Young Fire-fighters Association gave me a true passion for safety within the home. I am a key member of our Fire Core Safety Group and have direct responsibility for resident Fire Risk Profiling, this focuses upon our vulnerable tenants, particularly hoarding cases. Attending the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), Understanding Hoarding Disorder course and Public Health Wales, Mental Health First Aid session, has enabled a greater understanding of the inextricable link between health and housing.
The professional development opportunities over the last 18 months have been limitless, including studying for a Housing and Sustainable Communities degree at Glyndwr University, PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course, Women in Social Housing sessions and RNIB training to name just a few.
From day one I’ve been truly inspired by the ‘colourful’ creativity of the housing sector and it is clear to see that creating communities to be proud of is at the forefront of Cartrefi Conwy philosophy. One of the most memorable moments in my career was witnessing the sheer delight on our communities’ faces whilst marching through a small village during the annual carnival parade dressed as an Oompa Lumpa in full attire, orange face and green hair holding winning golden tickets)– see I told you my journey had been an interesting one!
The opportunity to develop and introduce our new tenant incentive scheme ‘Home Rewards’ provided a challenging opportunity for true stakeholder engagement. My nerves were also tested to the max at a recent Older Persons Day where I gave a presentation to 200 people on the benefits of getting digitally active. The result, over 70 older tenants have signed up to become digitally included.
Nine months into my career, I was delighted to be appointed as Housing Project Manager with new responsibility for managing the Home Partner Project, which won the CIH Cymru Members’ Choice Award 2016 which was such a proud moment for me personally and Cartrefi Conwy.
It is an understatement to say a career in housing is rewarding; it has provided an exhilarating 18 months where no two days are the same. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz I have met my challenges (and will continue to do so), I have a great support network of colleagues and I will continue on my yellow brick road to progress my career in the ‘magical land’ that is social housing with many more fascinating experiences to come.
New Housing Professionals at TAI 2017
You can hear from our New Housing Professional finalists, Claire, Abdul, Katie and David, at TAI 2017 where they'll be blogging and presenting to win your vote.