CAREERS IN HOUSING
26/12/2009 4:02 pm
I have degrees in Guidance and Counselling and recently completed Level 4 Certificate in Access to Housing -CIH DISTANCE LEARNING.
I am presently working in Social Housing in a role not suitable to these qualifications-Caretaking.
How do i move ahead and perform more responsbile duties and roles?
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27/12/2009 8:33 pm
You do not say whether you have actually applied for any other positions, or in fact what type of role you are seeking, so the response I offer is necessarily neutral.
It is very important that when submitting your application, you ensure that a direct comparison of your skills, knowledge and experience is made against the Person Specification for the post.
If you can show that you fulfil all or most of the "Essential" elements of the Person Specification, your chances of being invited for interview will be much greater.
Once in the interview room, your communication skills will come under most scrutiny, so it is very important that you anticipate what questions will be asked, and practice giving comprehensive clear answers.
One final hurdle which most applicants fall at, is researching your potential employer and ensuring you take the opportunity to show the interview panel that you know who their organisation is, and that you desperately want to work for them.
05/01/2010 10:04 am
I'd suggest some form of voluntary work to broaden your experience, make your CV look better and more importantly make some use of your qualifications. There's nothing worse than getting qualifications such as yours and then not have the chance to demonstrate you can effectively use them. I'd hazard a guess that your local CAB would be very interested in speaking to you, and if you have any large estates near you that have community groups I'd have thought they'd welcome your input on matters such as mediation and working with problem families/individuals.
If you could do that in tandem with your distance learning (and hold down the day job!) then i think many housing providers or Local Authorities would be very interested to speak to you. Good luck!
05/01/2010 8:08 pm
Human rights would be an interesting area to look at. You can volunteer for Shelter and similar groups who supports victims of one kind of another, as I suspect social landlords wouldn not be much interested to offer you anything in that area.
06/01/2010 2:59 pm
You could approach supported housing providers, by that I mean services focused upon individuals rather than general needs housing that tends to focus on bricks and mortar.
For oneexample of many, homeless hostels that deliver 24/7 services are always in need of relief staff as they need to be staffed 24 hours every day of the year. If you work it out, for every 5 -6 full time staff they employ they will need 1 full time equivalent for cover purposes (holidays, training, illness, etc)
The odd shift covered whilst remaining in your current employment typically leads to more and more shifts and you then gain experience of these person-centred services and can then apply for similar positions when they become available. The skills learned are also transferable ones to much of general needs housing.
08/01/2010 10:32 am
With the combination of the two qualifications you have under your belt you actual have a number of opportunities you may want to consider within the housing sector. A major part of your decision and moving forward will be based around what you would like to do, what type of work you enjoy, things you are interested in - as there are so many disciplines within the sector. For example taking your degree in Guidance and Counselling – it may be that you wish to follow a route aimed towards welfare and advice work or customer related/liaison work ? Or alternatively your Level 4 Certificate in Access to Housing qualification provides a great foundation for the housing sector and can open up progress into a number of areas, including generic housing management related roles and customer focussed roles in housing organisation. You may also decide that you wish to consider further housing related study.
As a starting point, to help get a good gauge on the possible areas you could explore, I would suggest you have a look initially at the Why Housing booklet, you can download a copy from the Careers part of the CIH website and there are other resources you might find useful at www.cih.org/careers/. The Why Housing booklet also provides a number of profiles of people doing different roles in the sector and the routes they took to reach the positions they are in.
This will help to you an idea of the extent of the opportunities and will help to focus more on the areas of work you would or wouldn’t consider, or think you may enjoy or not.
Although you have indicated you feel the role you are currently doing is not suitable to the qualifications you hold, do remember the transferable skills this role is giving you. Skills you can take to other posts within the sector. Have a look at some job descriptions of posts you think sound interesting and look at the person specification of the post, consider the skills, attributes and experience that are required for the post and think about what roles, duties in your current post that do demonstrate particular skills, attributes and experience. It will also help to identify any gaps in experience or skills that you can aim to develop for your chosen route. If you are a CIH member there are a number of membership benefits which will support your career development. For example; your weekly copy of Inside Housing keeps you up to date with development in the sector as well as access to job vacancies. CIH members can also access a number of other web based career development services, including downloadable modules - covering areas such as Career Development, CV writing and self marketing techniques. Please do contact the CIH directly if you feel we can be on any further assistance and the best of luck!
08/01/2010 1:13 pm
Just a few ideas to add - you may have tried some of these already but hopefully something will be useful...
1. Approach your employer formally if you feel comfortable with this. Explain what your aims are (be as specific as possible), then ask if they can support you in any way - for example, by work shadowing people in areas you'd like to move into, finding someone who could give you a spot of coaching or advice, or giving you feedback on skills you need to progress further and advice on building them into a training programme?
2. Ask your HR/personnel team if they can think of any way that your counselling/guidance expertise might benefit the organisation - it's a long shot but there might be groups or tasks that need these skills, if you put a bit of extra time in.
3. Look out for any team-building days or projects that come up, and put your name forward. This can help you get to know people in different services and give your CV extra 'oomph'. Basically, it's an in-house version of the earlier voluntary work reply.
4. I'd second the last posting about making the most of your CIH membership benefits - it sounds as if the career development support workshop and/or the mentoring option might be useful too so if you're not currently a member, that's two good reasons to join!
Hope this helps a little. Housing is such a varied profession, there are bound to be opportunities you can take advantage of - just stay flexible and open-minded on how your experience might be relevant when you see something of interest.
Finally, don't lose sight of your valuable caretaking experience - the people skills and familiarity with estate environments (etc) are things that will be a real asset when you move on. So think creatively about the qualities you use now, and how they will also be useful for your next career step. (It will help prepare for your next interview if nothing else...!)
16/01/2010 4:05 am
Great thanks for all the fantastic pieces of professional advice you have provided.I believe that with all these suggestions I cannot go astray.
I am going to make judicious use of the suggestions.
Thanks a lot.
21/01/2010 3:14 pm
Your access course to housing level 4 will provide you with a strong foundation on which to build your career. You could progress to a degree in housing by distance learning or though an accredited university, (see www.cih.org).
Alternatively, you could undertake the Homes and Communities Agency’s foundation degree in sustainable communities. This is part-time, very work-focused and suitable for people who might not have the A-levels required for an honours degree.
It provides a broad understanding of housing and regeneration issues, covering topics like community safety, local economies and worklessness, sustainable design, governance and community engagement. Successful completion of the course also leads to full professional membership of the CIH.
If you want, and are successful, you can go on to do a full honours degree at the end of the foundation degree. The foundation degree runs at Sheffield Hallam University, Northumbria University, the University of Salford and London Metropolitan University, but it will be available in each of the nine English regions by 2011. For more information, visit ww.hcaacademy.co.uk/courses/foundation-degree.
Your work as a caretaker may well stand you in good stead as you’ll be able to demonstrate experience in relating to and dealing with residents. I suggest you encourage your existing employer to help fund one of these courses so that you’re in a stronger position to apply for managerial roles in caretaking and maintenance or to move into general housing management or community liaison.
If you can find someone already working in the type of job you’re most interested in, perhaps you could ask them to mentor you and give you some tips and advice. Your employer may also agree to some job shadowing which would give you very useful direct experience.