31 May 2023

A career in housing, not following in the family footsteps

I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career: being of Indian descent, there may have been an expectation to follow in my father’s footsteps and go into medicine, but I wasn’t that way inclined (and in fact, I ended up studying ancient history at university.) What I did know, was that I wanted my work to be in aid of others, and to work somewhere that put people over profit, so although I didn’t go into medicine, my first job was in the NHS, as a receptionist at a GP surgery. Eventually I ended up working in the governance department at a prestigious world-renowned hospital in Birmingham, before doing a similar role at a charity. It was by chance that I saw an advert looking to hire a risk and compliance business partner at Platform Housing Group. At this stage, I was looking to do something different, and housing was a completely new sector for me. I decided to apply and I’m so glad I did, as I was offered what has been an extremely rewarding role.

My role as a risk and compliance business partner is about collaboration; I work with colleagues across different departments to review, update and manage both operational and strategic risks. The departments cover a wider range of functions, from human resources and communications to operations and specialist housing. I also cover business continuity, which involves working with key individuals to review their business continuity arrangements and to assist with tests and exercises where needed. Risk and business continuity are not areas I would have considered working in when thinking about what I wanted out of a career, and although I don’t have direct contact with customers, I enjoy working with my colleagues to ensure that we’re doing what we can to achieve their goals and, ultimately, ensuring our customers are being considered.

Social housing is also not a sector that many would consider and is not necessarily an obvious choice for someone with a South Asian background, where we’re usually encouraged to go down the road of a profession in medicine or law.

However, working at Platform has given me the opportunity to grow and cultivate a worthwhile career in a way that the NHS also did, and in some ways even more. This role has given me the opportunity to try new things and to think outside the box.

For Business Continuity Awareness Week, I did a podcast which went out both internally and externally, something an introvert like me wouldn’t normally consider. But I work within a supportive team, who encourage me to do what we can to make things better for the people we work with, and those we work for – our customers.

In addition to my role as a business partner, I am also a diversity champion for Platform, raising awareness and sharing experiences with the aim of encouraging and fostering a more inclusive environment. This has included writing blogs about issues facing the transgender community and talking about my experiences as a person of colour. It’s important that people from marginalised communities see a place for them, to know that they are welcome, and that their concerns will be represented. I know I would have welcomed that when I was younger and still incredibly unsure of myself.

I would ask anyone who considers them self a minority to consider a career in social housing. It’s a sector that would benefit greatly from a diverse thoughts and ideas, especially as it’s those from the more diverse communities who need our help the most.

In my shoes blog

This blog was written as part of a series for Lara Oyedele’s 2023/23 CIH presidential campaign advocating the importance of racial diversity in the housing sector.

A key campaign objective is to amplify conversations and awareness by sharing a wide variety of lived experiences, #InMyShoes, to create a momentum where racial and ethnic diversity are consistently on the agenda to drive forward positive change.

Written by Trishna Tripuraneni

Trishna is a diversity champion and a risk compliance and assurance business partner at Platform Housing Group.