Meet our 2018 Malcolm Smith Award winner
We caught up with Meg Deasley, the winner of the 2018 Malcom Smith Award, to find out more about her housing career and her reasons for undertaking a Post Graduate Diploma in Housing at the University of Glasgow.
I recently joined Cairn Housing Association as a Project Manager (Courts Conversion) with a remit to review the provision of housing for older people.
How did you start your housing career?
I completed a degree in Architecture and worked in design and masterplanning for a few years. After a Masters in City Design and Social Science, I joined a Local Authority Housing and Regeneration team and really enjoyed the work.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career to date?
I enjoy being able to work with residents to identify their issues, recognise their priorities, and find viable solutions that work through collaboration with residents, colleagues and partners. It’s being able to say ‘okay, now we understand the problem, what can we actually do about it?’ and then following through to fruition. Everyone has a vested role and a stake in success.
Why did you decide to study for the Post Graduate Diploma in Housing?
I have been working in the housing sector since 2005 and the opportunity to undertake academic research to underpin my practical experience really appealed to me – a chance to delve more deeply into issues that remain a challenge but may fall outside the scope of my ‘day job’.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying for a housing qualification?
The structured environment provides a broad understanding of the housing sector and an academic context to the day-to-day work of providing affordable housing. In addition to providing a strong foundation in core housing issues, it also gives you a chance to tailor your studies to your particular areas of interest – and introduces you to aspects of housing new to you or that you don’t know in depth.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I hope to continue to be involved in delivering high quality affordable housing to tenants and homeowners, working in a sector (and political environment) that remains committed to ensuring that everyone has access to good quality homes and neighbourhoods.
What tips would you give to someone thinking about a career in housing?
Working in housing is a great opportunity to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives and there are so many different types of jobs in housing. If you are interested in working in the sector, think about what you would like to do – working with tenants, looking after property, supporting staff, working in finance. Housing providers have a good track record of supporting employee development from modern apprenticeships to flexible working and training opportunities that can allow you to find your niche.
*The Malcolm Smith award was first made many years ago when former CIH president Malcolm Smith endowed an award for the best dissertation from a student in Scotland. Malcolm Smith was previously Director of Housing in Glasgow, and a former chair of the Scottish Branch.
*The winner was announced at the Scottish Housing Day parliamentary reception on the 19th of September 2018 at the Scottish Parliament.