I have come a long way since completing my qualification in Business & Administration in Germany.
There the drill was obviously all about keeping the books and managing offices with meticulousness and of course with the office Package, SAGE, SAP and more.
I first got in touch with community work, during my time at university, where I also acquired my research, academic writing, teaching and presentation skills. Then whilst at University I felt I wanted something more to compliment my studies so I decided to try out voluntary work and joined a homeless charity, writing articles for their paper (which is comparable to the Big Issue in London) and co-organising community festivals and fundraising events.
Unfortunately, I did not enjoy studying German linguistics as much as I hoped, but I still cherish everything learnt at Uni including my teaching and research skills and of course my love for historic and social studies. I left Uni and found love in London, which has been my home since 2010.
I started my work as a Communal Services Officer for Enfield Homes an Arms Length Management Organisation. Here I quickly discovered potential for Community Involvement by increasing the number of participants in our departments customer survey by 300% and developing ways of measuring the data which we received. I was also able to create innovative ways of engaging with our customers at community festivals through customised crosswords and easy to understand games.
I came to fully understand the importance of Community Engagement during my secondment as a Rent Income Officer, where many customers expressed the feeling that the help and services on offer did not meet their needs and that they did not have a say in shaping these services nor were they offered any plausible alternatives.
A good majority of the people I interviewed during this time struggled with the basics of personal finance which, particularly with regards to the recent Welfare Reforms, worried me. I believe at this point it dawned on me that although I had learnt alot of useful things about Housing and Housing law, the role of a Rent Officer as such, was probably not for me. I started to think about ways of helping customers struggling with their reduced income. I initiated my project which was to be a life sized finance game called The Money Spin, which engaged with our customers at our annual Community Festival. The aim of Money Spin was to highlight spending habits and show areas for improvement this was well received by the majority of the participants, who confirmed that they learnt a lot about how to save money in everyday life situation.
The success of this project encouraged me to look for a job that matched my core values and would enable me to work with stakeholder in a more direct and satisfying way. My work as a Community Engagement Officer at Barnet Homes is to start on 22 April 2014, I am very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to it immensely .
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