1. Contrast:

Ashley's time @CHP

I couldn’t actually remember when I last wrote about what I was doing, so I have just had to trawl through our website to have a look, it’s been nearly two months, and what a busy time it has been. Last time I wrote about the Housing Management Conference I attended; when I returned I was invited to present the information to our Housing Managers team. I was very nervous about this as I had never presented a PowerPoint before but it went well. In the end everyone was really engaged and asked questions, and it ended up more of a discussion about how we could change our practices in the future.

I have now moved to the Income team, on our first day back from the Christmas break I was given a spreadsheet with 409 of our Leaseholder properties who owed money through either their Service Charge or Major Works. The vast majority had paid within a week though and after a number of calls, voicemails, texts, emails and letters to the remainder I am now only chasing 20. Which for my first time doing this, I call a success.

My other task I am currently working on is going through the 503 individual Arrangements to Pay (ATPs) that have been arranged between our Income team and tenants, seeing whether they have been set up correctly on the system and whether they are being kept to. This can be extremely confusing. Sometimes I can have about six different screens up and a calculator and I still can’t understand what’s in front of me, however the more I do it the more I am getting my head around it. So far I have gone through 173 (not all successfully) and am hoping that by the time I get through the remainder, I will be able to do it confidently.

Thursdays are my apprenticeship coursework days. These are my cheat days and we often take trips to the supermarket to buy snacks. I’m sure it must be scientifically proven somewhere that sweets, chocolate, crisps and popcorn help with concentration. We don’t have exams and our learning is online based so in this time I read through the information given from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). I also research other information, housing associations and local authorities online and then start to write my assignment.

I feel I have learnt so many valuable skills and come so far since starting in September. One of my least favourite things to do was call people, however in my time with the Income team I have been calling people almost daily and now it isn’t so scary. My current assignments are due for the middle of February and there are many exciting projects coming up which I am hoping to get involved in. Next month I am also moving to our Quality of Life Team so plenty more to learn and see. I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with you.

Ashley Taylor

Housing Apprentice

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