My seven-year-old self wanted to be a hairdresser. By the time I spoke to a careers advisor, I was doing OK at school and fancied being a lawyer. The careers advisor did her best to put me off, but with the stubbornness of youth I persisted.
After completing my degree, the LPC and working at solicitors’ offices for four years, it became obvious to me that this legal malarkey wasn’t for me (probably because I use words like ‘malarkey’). However, I still wanted a job that enabled me to help people, fitted with my ethics and allowed me to give back and make a difference.
For the first part of adulthood, I had no idea about the housing sector. What did it do? I knew my family had lived in ‘council houses’ but really didn’t think beyond that. Disenchanted with the legal sector, I started applying for administration jobs at charities and saw a job advertised with Cadwyn. It’s now been 10 years and I haven’t looked back once.
I love the fact that we help so many people at such a difficult time in their lives. It really is rewarding when you speak to someone you have worked with for months and you hear the joy in their voice when they say they have received their permanent offer, a fresh start and a chance to make their new home their own. I love the variety of my work; no day is ever the same. I love my colleagues, a super bunch that manages whatever comes up, no matter how random the query. I also love the mountains of cake in the office on any given day.
My biggest goal for this role is to make it pay! It’s a new role for the department so ensuring our scheme is still viable, that we hit our unit numbers and keep our current landlords is important, as is continuing to give our tenants and landlords a good service and securing our income by thinking of new, innovative ways to make our service efficient. Another major goal is that we have a happy team; after all, happy workers achieve more and give better service.
My advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in housing would include being resilient, innovative and kind with a ‘can-do’ attitude. I certainly had no training in housing or any housing qualifications, but I had lots of skills that were useful in the sector, such as negotiation, critical reasoning and effective listening. You can learn all of the ‘technical’ stuff with experience; each of my roles has been really rewarding. We support lots of volunteers and there is plenty of work to do and you would struggle to find a set of people more willing to share their learning with others.
Louise is an Assistant Manager on the private sector leasing team at Cadwyn