My career in housing began back in 2015 when I had recently completed my MBA and suddenly found myself with lots of spare time on my hands! I decided to search for volunteer opportunities and stumbled upon the ‘Come on Board Wales’ website where I saw that Newydd were looking for new Board members and were encouraging applications from people with Finance and Risk backgrounds.
I am a qualified Chartered Accountant having trained with KPMG in Cardiff and had spent my whole career to that point working in various finance and risk roles. At the time of my application to the Newydd board I was working in Corporate Finance for a care home developer, and whilst I knew lots about development and funding, I knew very little about the social housing sector. I did plenty of research leading up to my Board member interview and grew more and more intrigued by all the great work that housing associations do in our communities and supporting local people.
Luckily, I was offered the role and joined the Newydd Board shortly afterwards, stepping up to the Chair role in 2018. I get huge benefits from working with such a strong group of fellow Board members and the Newydd executive team and colleagues.
Since then, I have also changed my ‘day job’ to housing and I’m currently the Finance Director for Valleys to Coast in Bridgend. Our vision at Valleys to Coast is to ‘Help build a better Wales’ and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
There are so many great opportunities within the housing sector in Wales for Finance professionals, and one of the best parts of my job is working with a great dedicated (and fun) team.
My thoughts for anyone working in finance and thinking about moving into the sector are to be confident that there are fantastic exciting opportunities in social housing, and to just go for it! Our skills as finance professionals are transferable and the range of roles available are broad, whether you’re working as a management or financial accountant, treasurer, working on payroll or purchase/sales ledger. For me, there is also the huge benefit of knowing that the work I do every day contributes to that goal of building a better Wales and genuinely helping our customers.
It doesn’t get much better than that!
Claire is Finance Director at Valleys to Coast.