Matt was heading for a career in law but a chance meeting took him in a different direction. Now he is settled in his housing role and loving every minute of it.
After leaving university, Matt decided to get some experience working at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. During a ‘Possession Morning’ helping tenants in arrears, he met some housing officers from L&Q and was intrigued to find out more about the business.
“I hadn’t thought about a career in housing before.” says Matt. “I could see the connection between studying law and this type of role, as it involves lots of dealings with courts and the legal system.”
He found out that L&Q were running a graduate scheme and was keen to apply. “Having researched the company more, I realised there was a broad range of roles available and I would get a varied experience,” Matt says.
In his first six months of the graduate programme, Matt worked in the North East Property Services team. His job was to manage and find resolutions for disrepair cases (this is where a tenant alleges that we have failed to meet our obligations as a landlord). It involved dealing with opposition lawyers and consulting with surveyors.
“I was able to use the skills I had perfected at university like reading, writing and interpreting complex documents and information,” says Matt.
Six months later Matt moved to his second role, as a Neighbourhood Services Officer (NSO). It was a frontline role, meeting residents and dealing with tenancy issues, anti-social behaviour, estate inspections and starter visits.
“This role certainly kept me on my toes and helped me experience the challenges for our NSOs,” says Matt. “You can’t predict how to resolve a problem, as each resident and situation is different.”
After the first year as a graduate trainee, Matt was encouraged by his managers to apply for a permanent role as a Team Leader. “I wasn’t sure I was ready,” Matt says, “but these opportunities don’t come around that often. It was a good chance for me to be a people manager so I went for it and was successful.”
Matt found himself managing eight NSOs and problem solving for the team. It was a challenge to satisfy the constant demand to do more from the residents, which made him look at how to do things differently.
“It was satisfying to coach my team and see them grow in their roles,” says Matt. “I’m proud to say we have achieved great things as a neighbourhood.”
Eighteen months later, Matt was promoted to Regional Manager, a more strategic role in the neighbourhood. He has been an integral part of projects like the Chobham Manor development at the Olympic Park and Academy Central.
“In this role it is important to be able to engage with stakeholders and positively influence people,” says Matt.
Looking ahead, Matt sees more growth for L&Q and therefore more job opportunities.
“L&Q really is a friendly place to work,” Matt says. “If you want to work in the neighbourhoods, I would say you need to learn fast and write well. Also being able to network and engage with people is essential.”