'The Level 7 can fit around you - not the other way around'
When we found out that CIH Level 7 learner Stan Hall had won the Leicester Business School prize for 'best student performance on postgraduate certificate housing' we couldn't wait to find out more - so we caught up with Stan to find out why the Level 7 has been such a success for him.
Hi Stan. Can you tell us a little more about yourself and what your role within the housing sector is?
I'm in my mid-thirties and during my working life I've been largely based in the housing sector, across a wide range of roles. I'm currently working as a housing officer in a role which includes the overseeing of maintenance, rents, tenancies, allocations, enforcement and sustainment. Thankfully, I’m someone that enjoys variety!
Why did you choose to sign up for CIH's Level 7 qualification? Did you feel it would support you in your work?
Coming into my current role, I felt there were gaps in my knowledge base. Having reviewed the course literature, I certainly felt that the postgraduate certificate course was the right choice to plug these gaps due to the breadth of the syllabus. It also had the advantage of being pitched at postgraduate level, so it could build on my previous academic studies rather than reverting to study at a lower level.
Do you study online or at an in-house centre? Was this an important choice for you?
All of the course materials were available online, so I could access them wherever and whenever was convenient for me. Besides work I have two babies at home, so this flexibility was essential for me as I predominantly study in my own time.
Like most of us, my job is also really busy so I didn’t want to take a course that meant having to participate in regular mandatory webinars during office hours or attend physical classes or weekends. Happily, this course gave me the freedom I needed to self-manage my own studies.
What do you hope to gain from completing the Level 7 Certificate?
I think that the course has fulfilled my original objective, which was to get a broader and deeper handle on housing studies all across the country, not just one part of it. This is something which has already made me more effective in my role. Completion of the course also leads to chartered membership of CIH, which is a nice bonus.
You recently won the Leicester Business School prize for the 'best student performance on postgraduate certificate housing' - can you tell us a little more about this and what it means to you?
I must say that winning the prize was a big surprise for me, and to start with I thought they must have given it to me by mistake! Each submission represented a compromise between my efforts, intentions and the reality of the limited time and energy I could devote to it. Thankfully, the result seems to have been enough not only to pass the course but even to win a prize!
What would you say to other housing professionals who are considering taking a CIH qualification?
If you are up for a challenge and want to gain a qualification that will take you to the next level in your knowledge and possibly your career, then this course is a great choice. It will mean a serious commitment to academic study for a year, but if you can commit to that then it’s a very achievable course. It can fit around you, and not the other way around. It’s also a very 'now' course and it will take you from the philanthropic roots of social housing right up to the latest hot topics. Well recommended.
- Find out more about the Level 7 qualification, starting online in September 2016
- Not sure which course suits you? Take a look at our guide
- 'A qualification like this can really open up some doors' - hear from Level 4 learner Lawrie and Level 3 learner Michelle