Cohort 9 – Income Management Officer
Name: Matthew Leach
Current job title: Income Management Officer
Internship/Placement role: Governance Officer then Neighbourhood Officer
Degree: Maths and Statistics
Where are you based: Salford, Manchester
I am originally from Glasgow and have lived there most of my life, I fancied making a move after I finished uni so started to look for jobs outside my home city. I wanted to work in housing as it’s an opportunity to really make a difference. I know that’s a complete cliche but I can’t tell you the difference I’ve noticed in some tenants lives over the past year and a half thanks to the hard work people in Salix have helped me put in. I originally saw the advert for the GEM programme while searching for housing jobs and applied for the role of Governance Officer as a way into the sector. I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was at the time and I know very little about It now but it was my way of getting into housing and it has served me well! After a few months a vacancy came up for the role of Neighbourhood Officer which I took up and through this I got to see the side of Housing I wished to work in. It’s challenging and fast paced but its very own hectic madness is so endearing and you really do get to make that huge difference to people’s lives.
The GEM Programme
The GEM program has allowed me to see sides of the organisation that I would not normally see through any of my roles, be this through Finance or Community Regeneration, It’s definitely a good way to get to know people in your organisation that you wouldn’t see otherwise. It’s also a cracking way to meet folk throughout the country who are in the same boat as you are and share experiences with them. The Homelessness GEM shack was one of the most poignant we attended and really hit home how close every single one of us really is to becoming homeless and how difficult a cycle it can be to break out of. It really made me go the extra mile for people who were in danger of this and makes you think that little bit differently about each individual situation you come across.
What do you enjoy about your current role?
In my current role I am working on the rent side of the organisation, making sure rent is paid and helping tenants maximise their income through benefits applications, querying and challenging decisions and working with partner agencies to make sure all this is done smoothly. In a time of continuously crippling government policy: bedroom tax, benefit cap, cuts to local services and people struggling with nowhere to turn, there are avenues for you to take to help people out of these dark times and really does give you the opportunity to give someone a huge helping hand when they are most desperate.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to apply?
If you feel passionate about making a strong positive social change then you really have nothing to lose. Definitely one of the best assets you can have on the programme is having another GEM working within your organisation with you, and if like myself you want to move away from home to work the support network that it offers is a massive help. The GEM program is a good way to get yourself experience in Housing and gives you the opportunity to have a laugh while learning, you meet great people from all over the country and I’d say it’s definitely one of the best choices I’ve made. Good luck!