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.

Having progressed from an office junior in a manufacturing company to Deputy Chief Executive of Together Housing Group, Kevin Ruth’s top tip is be nice to the person who manages your diary. Here, he shares his career journey.

I joined the legacy organisation Twin Valley Homes in 2001

I’m skilled at appraisal of business opportunities, managing resources and working with board and peers in establishing the direction for the organisation.

I went straight from school and became office junior within the finance team for a manufacturing company. I continued to study at college on a day-release arrangement and after much effort and distraction (being 16 and with a salary!) eventually qualified as an accountant. I spent many years in Local Government as an internal auditor and various accountancy roles. Not all was boring bookkeeping – I gained lots of experience investigating fraudulent activities and in pulling together funding proposals for raising finance.

I left local government to become a senior consultant, advising housing associations and local authorities in business planning and management of housing services. This developed my interest in the purpose and functions of a housing provider and in 2001 I took the opportunity to join Twin Valley Housing as a Director of Finance when the company was established to acquire 12,000 dwellings from the local council. Since then, my role has varied quite dramatically and at various stages I have taken the lead role in managing most of the functions we undertake, dabbling in the things that I became interested in and offered a new challenge.

Presently, like lots of you, a typical day involves joining in to Teams meetings for much of the day – to keep abreast of the varied business ventures we are working on, talking with advisors on projects we are negotiating and keeping in touch with colleagues on how we are performing. When not in meetings I seem to spend a lot of time writing reports to keep our various boards and committees abreast of our programmes.

If I was to give a piece of advice to somebody wanting to apply for my role, I’d say

be nice to the people who organise your time! It’s important to be organised and efficient with your time and without Tracey, a Management Support Officer, there would be more chaos than I create now.

What I like most about my job is seeing the business continue to develop as we pursue new and varied activity.

My proudest moment is Twin Valley Homes being awarded National Housing Association of the Year for the great work we had undertaken in developing our More than a Landlord strategy.

You can find out more about National Careers Week here: