Working with our residents to make a real difference to people's lives and help create friendlier places to live has always been at the centre of what we do, and our Community Engagement team work tirelessly with our residents to find opportunities for development and growth within themselves and their communities.
One of the most popular opportunities the team has offered was the chance to study for a Chartered Institute of Housing Level 2 Certificate in Housing Practice. This 16-week course provides a general introduction into housing management at a level equivalent to a GCSE or NVQ Level 2. With this qualification, these volunteers then use this knowledge to undertake an active role in our volunteer scrutiny team – a friendly group of tenants that conduct a review of key services such as cleaning or repairs and present a report to our Board with recommendations for how they could be improved.
Three residents – Sarah Compton, Hind El Khoumssi and Cathryn Barr – all submitted applications to the team, explaining why they would be an ideal candidate and were then selected to take part in this year’s online course.
Hind has been a Watford Community Housing resident for around two years. After receiving a postcard that the Community Engagement team sent out to all residents in January, which asked about their dreams and aspirations, she was inspired to get in touch. This postcard reached out to residents, asking them to let us know what they hoped to achieve in 2019 and discover how we could help them on their way. Hind got in touch with us, expressing her hopes of making the first step to a career she had always aspired to and the team suggested this course.
Achieving this qualification could set Hind in good stead for the position in housing that she has always dreamt of, as she explained: “I want to change my career. I had always wanted to move to social care and started a course online a few years ago but because of so many difficulties, I had to give it up. The qualifications I studied for in Morocco are not recognised here, so to study this will give me the qualifications I need to start my dream career.”
Sarah, a relatively new resident with us, aims to make a difference to her community and help people, explaining: “I’ve been a resident for just over a year so it’s all still quite new to me but I really love learning and was interested in finding out more about how housing practice works and with that, help people… making differences if I can, no matter how big or small.”
Cathryn has been a resident with us for over 30 years and has been involved in numerous panels and other community efforts. She is always eager to learn, telling us: “I love learning and I’m quite involved with various things here, like the scrutiny panel and funding panels. I want to learn more about housing practices as I actually think I have a lot of ideas that I would love to put into practice.”
The flexibility of this home learning course has allowed this great team – all with various, demanding schedules – to study alongside their everyday tasks, allowing them the freedom to choose when and where they learn, and empower them to achieve their personal goals without having to compromise their day-to-day lives.
Hind explained just how important this course has been and encouraged more tenants to get in touch with their own hopes and dreams for the future, explaining: “It would be crazy to waste an opportunity like this, it could really help so many people!”
It’s wonderful to see this group – all busy juggling their studies with incredibly different lives – come together for moral support and truly embody community spirit. We are sending a huge good luck to Sarah, Hind & Cathryn with their studies – we know they’ll do brilliantly!
If you are interested in developing existing skills or taking that first step towards your goal, there are a huge amount of options available to you. If you’re ready to start your journey like these inspiring women, why not get in touch with our Community Engagement team today on 01923 209183 and see where this year could take you?