I sort of fell into housing by accident. I think the only reason I got the job was because I could read drawings.
I had started my career in 1984 as an engineering apprentice for Lucas Girling, a brake manufacturer in Cwmbran; being one of the first four females ever to be employed as apprentices by Lucas. I went on to become a Tool Design Engineer and my claim to fame is that I designed the press tools for the first Mondeo model, code name CDW27.
After six years of working in a factory I decided I needed to try something else, so left to try my hand at teaching – big mistake! I ended up applying for the post of Development Assistant with Gwerin Housing in 1993.
I had absolutely no idea what housing associations did or anything about development so it was a steep learning curve. It wasn’t until I was involved in arranging the formal handover of 12 new homes in Blaenau Gwent that I realised just how much difference housing associations made.
One of the families told me how their new home meant they had saved money on their heating bills and were able to afford to heat the house properly for the first time in years. I can still remember how happy they were.
Twenty-six years later, after working for numerous social housing providers, across South Wales and across the various technical functions, I still believe in social housing.
My current role is Development Manager for Bron Afon Community Housing. Each day is different, from assessing development opportunities, working with design teams on numerous construction projects, meeting with planners etc to getting projects to site.
Handing the keys to new tenants is still the best bit of the job for me.
I am lucky to do a job that I love, whilst knowing just how much a new home means to people and families in need.
Lisa is a Development Manager at Bron Afon