Langstane Housing Association celebrates Scottish Housing Day

Langstane Housing Association celebrates Scottish Housing Day

Judith Sutherland

As Langstane Housing Association celebrates Scottish Housing Day, Judith Sutherland charts her journey from housing administration to director of housing, while Robyn Henry explains how she made the jump from leaving school to starting her career in housing.

Judith Sutherland

I started my career in housing by accident as so many people do. I was working for Aberdeen University in administration when an opportunity arose to work in the Student Accommodation Office, housing students, providing private sector advice and inspecting student flats. A real grounding for a career in housing.

I knew then what I wanted to do and applied to what was then Gordon District Council. The chief executive at that time was Peter Donaldson and such a role model and inspiration for a young housing officer. I remember being asked to go up to his office and quaking at the thought I’d done something wrong but he’d received a letter (yes it was that long ago) from a prospective tenant’s son saying how grateful he was for my help with housing his elderly mum. Peter thanked me for my good work. I remember to this day how proud I felt and that even for something so small I had made a difference. That’s what a career in housing is, making a difference every day.

There were lots of opportunities for progression within the local authority. I moved on to lead the homelessness team which is probably the most rewarding job I’ve ever had although this was challenging work and then on to policy work. Although a great experience I knew that I preferred the operational side of housing and applied to Grampian Housing Association as a housing manager.

As well as the role it’s also the people who you work with which makes a difference and we achieved great things together.

I’ve now been the director of housing at Langstane Housing Association for nearly nine years with responsibility for the Association’s housing management, customer services and housing support functions. I love my job and I see colleagues starting out on their own career paths and hope that they will be as happy and rewarded as I have been.

The advice I would give anyone starting out is work hard, study if you have the opportunity and be the best you can be. I have a law degree from Robert Gordon University, a postgraduate diploma in Housing Studies from Stirling University and both have provided me with the background knowledge and confidence to do my job. The Chartered Institute of Housing qualifications also provide a fantastic way of establishing yourself as a professional in the housing sector and ensuring you have the theoretical knowledge, essential skills and learning to perform at the highest level in your day job.

Take part in all the training you can. This provides you with best practice and helps improve your own organisation on a day-to-day basis. Share your experiences with colleagues.

I’m also very proud to be a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and until recently chair of Grampian Women’s Aid.

Robyn Henry

To help raise awareness about different roles and routes into the housing sector, Langstane is sharing stories from our employees and the reason they have chosen a career in housing.

In June 2023, Robyn Henry joined Langstane Housing Association on a modern apprenticeship as a trainee customer service advisor. In Langstane’s Scottish Housing Day video, Robyn explains how she made the jump from leaving school to starting her career in housing.

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