“Working in housing has not only provided me with a career I love but one I can be proud of too.”
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished university, but I knew I needed a job.
I tried my hand at a few jobs including telesales (which was awful!) and then saw an advert for a Customer Services Adviser with Rhondda Housing Association based in Tonypandy which was 10 minutes from my house.
I didn’t really know much about them but remembered when I was in primary school I entered a competition to name one of their new-build developments in my village, which I didn’t win. I was really jealous of my three school friends who moved into their brand new homes which had a bathroom upstairs and car parking spaces – very posh compared with my terraced house!
I was fortunate to get the job and absolutely loved it from the very first minute. I sat on reception most days, dealing with all queries and answering repair and housing calls. Every day I was learning something new, which 14 years down the line still happens!
Being quite an ambitious person I knew I wanted more and really loved shadowing the Housing Officers. Nine months into working there I was lucky enough to get a secondment covering one of the Housing Officer’s maternity leave and knew I wanted to stay working in housing.
I loved the variety of the work, including being involved with the tenant groups and organising the Christmas parties and summer trips away. I gained so many skills as a 23-year-old that I don’t think I’d have gained anywhere else.
The amazing opportunities helped me to progress and I left to become a Housing Officer at Valleys to Coast. I later moved roles again with other housing associations, and returned back to Valleys to Coast as a Housing Team Leader.
No two days have ever been the same in any of my roles, and in my current position I am able to still be involved with customers, which I love. I also assist with setting the future direction of the team.
It has not always been easy and there have sometimes been difficult and upsetting situations to deal with, but the support I have always received from colleagues has been amazing. Being ‘more than just a landlord’ is often spoken about but that is absolutely true; customers remember you years after you have worked with them. Knowing that you have been a small part of their life is something that never tires.
My first job in housing will always be special to me as I also met my husband and had my first child while working there. I was only looking for something to pay the bills while I decided what I wanted to do! However, for me, working in housing has not only provided me with a career I love but one I can be proud of, too.
Natalie Taylor, Housing Team Leader, Valleys to Coast