09 Mar 2023
My name is Jay Rumboldt, and I am a projects and performance officer at Wokingham Borough Council. I split my time between my day job at the council and a second career as the team manager of the Berkshire Banshees Wheelchair Rugby Club, so life for me is about as varied as it gets! My time within the housing sector as been as rewarding as it has been enjoyable, so I’d love to share how I got into it as well as a few perks and pointers I have picked up along the way.
What I do
As a projects and performance officer, it is my job to collect, analyse, and present all the performance data from across the housing service. In other words: I look at how each team has been performing and share this with colleagues and our tenants. I specialise in making data engaging, presenting it in ways that different groups of customers can understand and find interesting regardless of their connection to the service.
The rest of my time is dedicated to project work, assisting with a huge variety of jobs from policy reviews to designing infographics. Most significant for me is the accessibility and diversity project, for which I am project manager. This covers a broad range of jobs, from ensuring all our media is accessible to engaging a more diverse group of tenants in our focus groups and tenant panels, representing all communities as equally as possible. I was pretty vocal about my ambition to set this project up as early as my interview for my current role, so being able to bring this into fruition with the support of Jinder (my mentor and line manager) and the rest of the tenant involvement team is something I am very proud of.
How I got into the housing sector
Unlike many of my colleagues, I never got a higher education. In fact, I dropped out of university early in my first year as symptoms of my disability began to show. Instead, I worked about four years of retail: supermarkets; record stores; and eventually a cinema, where I met the lovely lady who – at the time – managed customer delivery within the Wokingham Borough Council Housing Service. She told me about a vacancy within housing needs, an entry-level role that required nothing but a growth mindset and a positive attitude and supported me with my application. Shortly after, I had my first shift as a business support officer.
I never expected housing to be an interest of mine, let alone a career. However, I found myself fixated on the industry, fascinated by housing law, and spurred on by how incredible it feels to be making an impact on my community. When the opportunity to progress to a more strategic role came up, I was thrilled! The projects and performance role has introduced me to an entirely different side of the service, allowing me to meet new people and grow my skillset. My team have supported my personal development since day one, funding my CIH Level 4 course which I am excited to be starting this week, and mentoring me to bring out my full potential.
The most important thing I have learnt? In housing, nothing is more valuable than a fresh perspective. As a young person and a university dropout, my introduction to the industry may seem unconventional, but that paired with a growth mindset is how I have found success at Wokingham Borough Council and why I continue to love doing what I do.