‘Be Bold in Your Career helped me realise my potential’
Be Bold in Your Career is supporting people to fulfil their career potential, no matter what sector they work in and if you’re a CIH member you can access the course for a heavily discounted rate of £60+VAT.
We spoke to CIH member Megan Stanley, Community Investment Officer at Cottsway Housing Association, who completed the course last year, to talk about how she’s making the time for her career.
1. How did you hear about Be Bold in Your Career?
Be Bold in Your Career is actively promoted internally on our staff intranet site. I spoke to our head of HR and a previous colleague who completed the course to get a better understanding of how it could benefit my future aspirations.
2. What made you decide to register for the course?
After completing University and a couple of dissatisfying jobs, I eventually began working as a Customer Services Advisor at Cottsway. I had never worked in housing before but after a few months, I soon realised that I wanted to make a career out of it, as I enjoyed being a part of an industry that makes a positive impact.
The one thing I loved most about customer service was the sense of fulfilment from helping a customer to overcome a problem. However the role had some restrictions and I wanted to make a difference on a larger scale. When Be Bold in Your Career was advertised, it seemed like a good opportunity to organise my thoughts and figure out how I could contribute towards making a positive impact in the long-term.
3. How did you find working through the activities and which was your favourite part?
I found the career story timeline very useful; plotting out previous jobs and highlighting the parts of the jobs you most enjoyed and least enjoyed helped me realise what I needed to look out for (and avoid) when making my future career choices. The SWOT analysis was also really helpful as it made me feel much more confident about my abilities and experiences.
However the activities and resources that I found most rewarding were those that centred on creating conversations about your career. Be Bold helps you to keep a running record of all of your achievements; to never lose sight of what you’re capable of doing, and most importantly what you enjoy doing. You’d be surprised about how much you can learn from other people if you talk to them about their career story as well as your own.
I feel like I never would have realised my full potential if it wasn’t for the course; I wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to talk to my manager or colleagues about my career progression, but now I feel I can have those conversations.
4. How did you find fitting the course in with work and home life?
Cottsway supported me the entire way throughout the course. I put aside two hours each week to commit to completing the activities and listening to the webinars; having that focus really helped keep on track with my goals.
Two of my colleagues started Be Bold in Your Career at the same time as me, so we used that to our advantage and made a sort of informal support group. Every time there was a webinar we’d listen in together and then compare notes. Then every two to four weeks we’d get together for half an hour to have lunch and go over our progress with the course and brainstorm ideas.
5. It’s been three months since you’ve completed the course, do you feel like you’re making progress towards pursuing a career in housing?
I feel very lucky; a lot has changed for me since signing up for the course! After a few conversations with my support group, it was suggested I go down the education route to expand my knowledge of the industry. So half way through Be Bold in Your Career, I signed up to study the Chartered Institute of Housing Level 4 Certificate in Housing as I wanted to have a formal qualification under my belt. After finishing the qualification I’ll be able to use it as a tool to strengthen my abilities and future career prospects.
Towards the end of the course, a position became available within my company that completely suited my ambitions to make a positive impact. I successfully applied and at the beginning of this month I became the new Community Investment Officer at Cottsway. I am certain that all of the hard-work I put into Be Bold in Your Career, and the lessons I learned from it, contributed greatly in obtaining my new role.
Since completing the course, I have been inspired to create a LinkedIn profile for myself. I had never considered making one beforehand, as I didn’t think that I had anything worth-while to put on it. However, with the help of Be Bold, I have realised my achievements and I’m starting to find connections outside of my own organisation. I feel much more confident about putting myself forward for new projects and opportunities and I am more focused and positive towards my goals.
6. Would you recommend the course to others?
I would definitely recommend Be Bold in Your Career. The course content and activities are applicable to anyone who is in need of guidance with their career; whether or not you work, or have an interest, in housing.
The advice I’d give to someone thinking about registering is to just give it a go; make sure you put time aside to have those important career conversations with your colleagues and to be positive about making changes or trying something new, even if it is just something small.
If you’re in a similar position like me; where you’re at the beginning of your career, just starting out and not sure what direction you want to go in, Be Bold will make you realise the opportunities that are out there. It can be difficult knowing which career path you want to follow and how to go about getting there but the course will help to guide you. Be Bold changed my perspective on my strengths and the ways of learning about myself as a person; I feel a lot more confident about my future.
Megan Stanley is Community Investment Officer at Cottsway Housing Association.
The next cohort starts on Monday 23 April 2018. To book your place on the course, the final date for registrations is Thursday 19 April 2018.
Members can take part for £60+VAT
Standard price: £187.50+VAT
If your under 30, membership is just £45 for the rest of the year (that’s just £5 a month!) and pay £60+VAT for the course.