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

Why TAI? Time to develop your career


Chair of CIH Cymru Paul Diggory draws on his own career to blog for us on how TAI, and CIH membership, are fantastic tools for your personal development toolkit, and are career-long allies.

Paul DiggoryOnce upon a time a conference was an event that generated conflicting emotions in delegates. Two or three days out of the office? Yes please, I’ll go. Being talked at all day by old white guys in suits and ties? Glazed eyes, sleepy byes…As the eighth speaker of the day struggled to ensure his ‘acetates’ are displayed the right way up on the overhead projector, flickering eyelids and nodding heads provided the first evidence of those delegates suffering a lingering and harrowing demise with brief dreams of the bar bringing short bursts of blessed relief as they slipped in and out of consciousness. Slight dribbling was not uncommon. But it’s not like that now! Honestly!

Listen, TAI is quite simply a three day festival of ideas and opinions. You won’t necessarily like all the opinions, but sharing leads to an exchange of views and at TAI we’re fine with constructive criticism and alternative ideas. The people who come to TAI represent all levels of the housing sector and beyond. From policy makers to practitioners, leaders to students, landlords to tenants, politicians to board members, TAI is Welsh housing’s melting pot.

So come to TAI and you can expect to make new contacts and develop relationships, some of which will last a career or a life time. You’ll inevitably see opportunities for creation and reinvention, enabling you to return to the workplace reinvigorated with a new sense of purpose. At the very least you’ll find something to copy. They won’t mind. People are flattered when you ‘borrow’ their stuff, just give them a shout-out along the way.

You’re already booked? Brilliant - I’ll see you in Cardiff. No budget? Think about making a case. What will your employer get out of sending you to TAI? Set out what you want to get out of the event and make it attractive to them. There’s probably a better chance than you think - and don’t forget it’s the start of the financial year!

If there are places up for grabs, it’s definitely worth making your case. And if you become desperate, does your Director’s car need washing? Or ask your manager if you could spend some time with your Chair at the conference, allowing you to improve your understanding of governance. And allowing your manager more time to think and focus on specific issues, or just hunt cupcakes in the exhibition. Exercise your Right to TAI!

I was lucky. When I was a trainee I had a manager who made me do things. He made me apply to be a student representative of the Midlands Branch Committee “because it’ll be good for you”. And he was right. I learned that it’s a smart move to be around even smarter people. Every meeting I went to was a learning curve such that eventually I could feel that I was developing myself, not just increasing my knowledge but improving my ability to apply it. Attending events like TAI multiplies the chances of learning, but only if that’s what you want. As with anything you have to go into it with the attitude that it’s going to be good and you get out what you put in.

The single biggest assist in my career was being a member of CIH. The learning and development, the information and knowledge, the network of contacts and support. I couldn’t have found that anywhere else. So if you’re not yet a member of CIH, please do yourself a favour and think seriously about it. Do take a look at the blogs of our 2017 New Housing Professionals, I’m sure many of you will identify with their housing journeys. You’ll also see details of our apprenticeships and online courses on our website. If you want to find out more about what CIH can do for you, come to TAI. Try it out. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone later this month and hope you’ll be there. If you’re there and we haven’t met, please say hello!

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