Like many graduates, Sarah Jones found herself finishing University without knowing what career she wished to pursue.
Sarah began to apply for various jobs but discovered that there was a lot of form filling. She found herself shifting from job to job, often on short term contracts, and rarely finding any job satisfaction.
Following this period, she decided to look for something that was more rewarding and found a job within a local housing association. Her role was customer facing and involved working closely within the communities that the housing association worked.
Sarah Jones is today supporting the launch of This is Housing, a campaign launched to celebrate the work of people who work for housing associations in Wales.
This is Housing aims to drive the skills Wales needs to build 75,000 new homes. Housing associations in Wales aim to create 150,000 new jobs by 2036 to ensure they have the right skills and jobs in place to help meet those targets.
Almost 11,000 people are employed across 200 different roles in the organisations, which build and manage affordable homes for 10% of the Welsh population.
They also offer support to people who are in a variety of circumstances, including families on low incomes, the elderly, those fleeing domestic abuse, and people sleeping rough.
In 2018, housing associations in Wales spent over £445m million working with health providers, social services and other organisations on community based projects.
Sarah said “I remember how much it surprised me that housing is much more than the houses; it’s about the people who live in them”.
“Fast forward eight years from when I started, and I’m still working in housing! Things have changed for me personally; I’ve had two children and gone part-time and currently performing a juggling act that I’m sure all parents can relate to. I feel lucky that I work in a field that allows me the flexibility to do everything I want to.
“I have just been accepted onto MHA’s Future Leaders programme; I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to many more years in housing”.
Phillipa Knowles, Director of Resources & Organisational Development at Community Housing Cymru said:
“Social housing has a key role to play in shaping the future of Wales; the sector provides good quality affordable homes and support to communities. Housing associations in Wales have a vision to make good housing a basic right for all and we’re aiming to build 75,000 homes by 2036 to ensure people have good quality, safe and warm homes to live in. To do this, we need the right skills in place and we hope, by 2036, to have created 150,000 new roles so we can build the homes and communities Wales needs.
“65% of people working in the sector enjoy their jobs because they are making a difference. The sector has a huge range of roles from accountancy to front line work, and offers opportunities for progression and skills development. For instance, last year over £3.6 million was spent on staff training and professional development.
“We are urging anyone who is interested in working for a housing association to visit our This is Housing website to find out more!”