Hi, I’m Nick and have worked in housing for nearly 30 years. In this blog I’ll be sharing 5 reasons why I think housing is an excellent career choice.
Housing associations are a significant business that serves many customers, employs large groups of people and manages multi-million pound turnovers and assets. This means housing associations need all the usual business skill sets such as finance/accountancy, human resources, performance improvement, project management, procurement, ICT system development, line management and governance. These skills are in addition to our customer relationship management, property development, care and older persons’ support and property asset management needs that collectively deliver the services our customers see. Housing associations come in all shapes and sizes which offers varying levels of responsibility to suit those starting a career or those developing a career. With such a variety of professions and support packages to develop your skills further, the opportunities are significant and worth a serious look.
Housing associations directly support people and families to live in secure, warm, safe and sustainable homes. Achieving this outcome is very important to our holistic business approach and consequently, it creates a unique set of business values that blend the need to be effective and innovative but also understanding and caring at the same time. Working in an environment where every day your effort can tangibly enrich someone’s life is highly rewarding, but so is the freedom to challenge ourselves to be more effective with the resources we have. In today’s fast-moving world, it is reassuring to know that housing associations’ values have stood the test of time and have only become more relevant given the demand for affordable homes across all our communities. It will always be about the customer.
Housing associations offer genuine career opportunities in all disciplines of their business. Having started out in a small, locally based, housing association I have been lucky enough to work for a variety of associations of different sizes and stages of development. Each role I have held has allowed me to understand and learn more about myself and how I can work with others to make a difference. When I qualified as a Surveyor and worked in private consultancy, I had no idea I would be where I am today. Hindsight is clearly a wonderful thing but knowing what I know now about the careers that can be forged in housing associations, and the support you can get from colleagues and formal training/development alike, I would have no hesitation in recommending housing associations (whatever discipline you choose) as a career first choice.
The housing world never stands still as most days create new challenges to understand and overcome. Strategic challenges can be in the form of regulatory changes, economic uncertainty or obviously a pandemic! Operational challenges can relate to service delivery issues, system issues or resourcing levels. Housing associations now have many complementary services and businesses that support their wider communities. Specialist elderly and vulnerable care services, mixed tenure housing aimed at creating opportunities and more recently, investments in facilities to directly produce modular homes. These examples demonstrate how associations have responded to their changing environment over time, whilst always retaining their core purpose and why they are such an interesting place to work.
There are a lot of great people in the housing association sector in Wales. Who doesn’t want to work with others you respect and enjoy being with? Across Wales people from all the Welsh housing associations connect and share ideas both locally and nationally. This creates a great platform not only for collaborative improvement but also for person development. Having the ability to discuss problems or ideas with other likeminded people helps you and your business grow. People are the core of any business and that is so true of housing associations. I have made some great friends along the way and I have learnt so much from so many – and still do!. Housing associations can often be pigeonholed but those who look beyond any misplaced perceptions will see a sector full of progressive, supportive and dedicated people wanting to make a difference.
Nick Hampshire, Chief Executive @ ateb Group