I was lucky enough to be able to return to my old housing association after a period of being self employed. I’d worked for them in the Customer Services team in the past and had a good basic knowledge of repairs but had discovered a real interest in how homes were built and maintained.
My new manager picked up on this and my enthusiasm for learning quickly and encouraged me to start the HNC in Construction and the Built Environment with a view to me becoming an Asset Surveyor.
My employer has fully funded the course for me and pays me one day a week to go to college in Bedford. In return, my position in the company is, as far as can be predicted, guaranteed for the duration of the course, and a further year after that. Along with doing other professional courses along the way, I can look forward to more responsibility, pay rises and the ability to do my job well.
I’ve found the course challenging so far as it sits slightly outside my comfort zone - the highest level I’ve studied at so far is Level 3 and never studied at a higher education level before having missed out on university when I was 18.
It’s a very different way of learning and it took a while to get used to the amount of self motivated learning. So even that was a surprise to me, but I’m doing well so far – my first assignment was a Distinction, so I’m really pleased with that!
My colleagues at college are a real mix of people and occupations – some are at management level already, some are apprentices, and everything in between, and it’s been interesting to meet people doing a similar job from different types of companies. It’s good to learn from them too.
This course not only gives me many new skills and knowledge, but reinforces what I already knew, and brings it up to date. The company has expanded since I was last here and there are a wider range of jobs and skills in-house – I can use skills like CAD drawing when planning improvements to people’s homes, or to help out with adaptations for disabled tenants.
Knowledge of current legislation, and how to make sure we’re compliant, is vital in a job like mine. The course has helped me learn these skills. It’s also given me confidence. I know more than I think I do!
I’m using this course as a springboard to further qualifications – on completion of this course, I can then go on to do an HND, and a degree. These will help me to move ‘up the ranks’ in the company, so they can retain and reward well trained staff.
I’ll also have a good quality qualification to show any future employers that not only am I qualified for this job, I can also commit to constant personal improvement to continue to learn. You can never know all there is to know about a job!