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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

The Big Conversation Scotland


The Big Conversation Scotland took place in the fabulous Arches in Glasgow on 22 November and brought together aspiring housing professionals, to discuss the issues that are most important to them and help them develop their careers.

The day kicked off with our keynote speaker Gavin Oattes from Tree of Knowledge. Gavin motivated the audience for the day ahead and highlighted the importance of doing something that you love and making a difference through your everyday work. His presentation was very interactive, and the discussion got particularly heated after Gavin asked: “How do you put a giraffe in the fridge?” We are not going to give away the answer, but it became evident that as adults we frequently overthink everything.

Gavin had another interesting question for the audience – “What does 4000 mean?” Most people guessed it would be to do with money or time, and it was indeed the latter. The average human being lives around 4000 weeks. It is important that we make the most of those 4000 weeks – set ourselves challenges, take up new opportunities, make a difference in other people’s lives. If you don’t feel motivated when you go to work and don’t enjoy what you do, you are in the wrong job and you should do something to change that.

The day incorporated “fishbowl” sessions, where delegates were given the opportunity to speak and share their experiences and opinions with the rest of the audience. There were two fishbowls – one focusing on the challenges and opportunities in the housing sector today, and another one on career progression. Both topics were highly relevant for our audience, which was dominated by young housing professionals – some of whom were new to housing and bedding into their new roles or apprenticeships, and others who had some experience in the sector but were ready for the next step in their career. There was a clear emphasis on career progression, making the most of opportunities, qualifications and mentoring.

There were also a couple of panel discussions, one leadership and the other on the changing role of housing professionals. These generated some great discussions and questions for our speakers. It is evident that the housing profession has evolved in recent years, presenting some challenges, as well as opportunities for those who are willing to go the extra mile.

The Big Conversation finished just how it started – with an inspirational speech, this time delivered by Jim Strang, President of the CIH. Jim emphasised the importance of housing as a profession, and the difference that housing professionals make to people’s lives every day – something we should all be proud of.

After the event, we heard from delegates who told us that they had really enjoyed the programme, and many said it did not feel like an average housing conference – which is exactly what we had intended.

The key takeaways from the day were indeed very positive. Delegates felt motivated to explore new opportunities, be it qualifications, job openings or training. They understood the importance of having a mentor, or someone who can guide and support them through their career development – which could be your manager, a friend, or even a public figure who inspires you!

The Big Conversation will continue to run throughout the UK, inspiring housing professionals to be the best they can be. You can see some of the highlights and great discussions which took place on Twitter - #TBCS2018

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