This week, 1st-6th March, is National Careers Week and it aims to inform and inspire the next generation as they enter the world of work. We asked Together Housing staff to share the twist and turns in their career journey to show how everyone must start somewhere.
Kellie Heard is a Housing Support Officer who found her career after realising she has always loved working with and supporting people. Kellie says that support work can save lives. It may not be in a traditional way like CPR, but through supporting vulnerable people Kellie can help them access the resources they need. Here, Kellie shares her career journey and what her role entails.
I have always wanted to support people. For me, supporting people has a sense of accomplishment. I like that I can help people access support to rebuild their lives or get support they may never have had before.
I actually fell into this job accidentally. I happened to see a Supported Housing Officer role advertised online through a recruitment agency and thought to myself “I could do that”, as I had a lot of transferrable skills from previous employment. I applied and well here I am 18 months later! I love this job and I often joke that I’ve finally found at the age of 40 what I want to be.
Previously I was a support worker, working with people with severe mental health issues. I have also been a personal assistant for a person with health problems. I would support that person with their day-to-day life, finances, appointments, cooking as well as sitting and listening to them.
Even though I have left school, that doesn’t mean I have stopped learning! I am constantly learning in this role and it’s one of the reasons I love my job. Alongside my day job I have been given the opportunity to complete a Level Three apprenticeship qualification in housing and I think this will be a great opportunity to improve myself personally and professionally.
In this role no two days are the same. Scheduled support sessions can include conversations about budgeting as well as asking what they are having for tea that day. This is because something as simple as what they are having for tea makes people more relaxed and they are more open to receiving support which, in turn, supports their tenancies. Sometimes you need to be ready at a drop of a hat as people may need support the same day. For example, there may have been an incident which needs safeguarding and referrals to be made.
I have had many proud moments in my job. From supporting a pregnant person in crisis and getting them the support they need, to helping a family to become debt free and ensuring they have a manageable budget for the future. Seeing people I have helped thrive makes me incredibly proud, not only of myself and the team but of the accomplishments the person themself has achieved.
For anyone reading this thinking they’d like to do this role, go for it. It may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy making a difference (no matter how small) in a vulnerable person’s life, then try it. Not every day is full of roses as it can be very hard work, but when someone you have supported gets their keys to their own tenancy; you know the support you have given has worked.
You can find out more about National Careers Week here: https://nationalcareersweek.com/