Q&A with CIH Ireland’s Cathy Etchingham
Alan Shanley, marketing and communications officer at CIH, sits down with new team member Cathy Etchingham as she takes up the post of professional development manager at CIH Ireland.
First off Cathy, tell us a little bit about yourself in terms of your housing background…
I began my social housing career in the Housing Corporation in London, the forerunner to the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency. From here, I joined Network Housing Association in west London where I worked as a development officer. I then became a development manager for Metropolitan Housing Trust before becoming director of development and new initiatives for Shepherds Bush HA, a leading tenant led west London housing association.
For the past eight years I have been employed as a manager in the property division of Focus Ireland. Initially, I worked as development manager, responsible for the procurement and maintenance of housing stock in the organisation.
In my last four years within this organisation however, I was the programme lead on a project which involved separating the housing management and support function within the agency, as well as managing a team of housing management and maintenance staff across Ireland.
How important have qualifications been in terms of your career?
I have always seen the importance of upskilling and learning because I always felt that no matter what job I worked in, it was important to keep on progressing through learning.
After leaving school I studied business in Trinity College Dublin but I already had an idea that the housing sector was where I wanted to be. With this in mind, shortly after completing my business degree, I completed a property certificate in Dublin College of Commerce.
In 2009 then I successfully completed the ICSH level 6 qualification in strategic management and from here went on to join the board of Clúid Housing Association.
What is it that you love about working in the housing sector?
My background within the housing sector is a very varied one and I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had such a varied career. However, the one thing that I have always loved about all of the exciting housing roles I have had to date is the fact that the rewards have always been great – meeting great people everyday and being able to impact on people’s lives in some small way is what my career in housing has always been about.
So what will your new role with CIH Ireland involve?
My new role is going to give me an opportunity I have never had before. As a housing practitioner I am acutely aware of the shortage of social housing staff in Ireland.
As this sector is poised to double in size over the next few years, it is exciting to be coming into this organisation right at the start of the CIH professional development programme.
I hope I can form a bridge between the trainers and students and deliver the best outcome for course participants and the communities of tenants whom they serve.
Contact Cathy to discuss your business requirements in Ireland on 01 656 4160 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.