Cohort 9 – Policy Officer – Talent in House
Name: Rebecca Simpson
Current job title: Policy Officer
Internship/Placement role: Talent in House (Neighbourhood Housing Officer)
Where are you based: Incommunities, West Yorkshire
Before the GEM programme, I had worked at Incommunities, primarily as a Neighbourhood Housing Officer, for 3 years. After completing my degree in Psychology at Leeds University, I knew I wanted to pursue a career working directly with people and communities. When a friend of my mum’s told me about a Neighbourhood Housing Officer position at Incommunities, I decided to apply and was lucky enough to be offered the job.
Continuous professional and personal development is something that’s always been important to me and whilst I was thoroughly enjoying working in neighbourhoods, I wanted to progress further. That’s when the neighbourhood director asked if I’d be interested in joining the GEM programme as a ‘Talent In House’ GEM. Having heard a bit about the programme and recognising my own ambitions to develop, I knew instantly I wanted to be part of it!
The GEM Programme
Completing the CIH level 4 qualification alongside having the opportunity to meet some really influential people in the sector was invaluable. Working in a specific area, such as my patch in Bradford, made it quite easy to work in a bubble, centred on the specific issues surrounding the area I managed. Interacting and building networks with colleagues nationally (and internationally!) really opened my eyes to the bigger picture and inspired my to apply for my current role as a Policy Officer, where I keep constantly up to date with current issues on a broader scale and explore how Government policy has real impact on the lives of our customers both locally and across the country.
I think a real niche for the GEM programme, is that it goes the extra mile to push you to challenge yourself to become a leader for the future. It’s certainly helped me to try things I wouldn’t have before and made me look at housing, as a career, in a different light.
What do you enjoy about your current role?
In my current role, I really get to put what I learnt on the programme into positive use and continue to build on it. I am in a position where senior colleagues come to me for advice and guidance on current issues and policy making. It’s allowing me the opportunity to see the organisation from a more strategic point of view, which I hope will help to develop my career further in the future.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to apply?
Be prepared to put the work in to get the most out of the programme. There are some truly unique experiences to be had that will stay with you throughout your career, so really put your all into it. You won’t regret it.