In Focus Newsletter

Sign up for our In Focus Newsletter

A Career Choice That Makes A Real Difference To People’s Lives

Jean O'Neill from Mid-Wales Housing is encouraging people to consider a career in social housing after working in the sector for 29 years.

Jean began her housing career after leaving school and joining Liverpool City Council Housing Department where she worked for 14 years and studied for a professional qualification. She then moved to Mid-Wales where she ran a Post Office for 8 years before returning to a career in housing at Mid-Wales Housing Association. During her 12 years working for the Association, Jean has worked as Supported Housing Co-ordinator, Community Housing Team Leader, Assistant Director of Customer Services and current Interim Director of Customer Services. She has also been a finalist in the CIH Cymru Welsh Housing Awards (Housing Hero) and awarded a Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Jean 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.

Jean said: "I am a passionate believer in the need for a decent home for everyone. How can we hope for every person to reach their potential if we are unable to provide the very basics for life? I am proud to have been able to change people's lives for the better during my career and plan to continue to do so! No two days are the same, which makes a career in housing very interesting, rewarding and sometimes even exciting."

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!"

Photograph Caption: Jean O'Neill