- Date: 26/10/2022
Want to know what it's like to work for Revival? Team Leader Mark shares his career journey
This year Mark was successfully promoted to Home Support Team Leader after working for Revival for over 6 years. We caught up with him to hear about his incredible career journey so far.
- How did your passion for housing and home support start?
I fell into housing when I was 16. I left school because I wanted to earn money. The family tradition was to work in the mines or the pits, but my dad wanted more for me.
I applied for a job as a Junior Entrant at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. At the time it was like a modern-day apprenticeship. As part of the role, I went around the different departments to see how they all worked. I spent time at each of them, but it was only the housing department manager that gave me the time of day. He showed me the ropes, gave me training and put me to work doing more than just photocopying. As a young eager lad wanting to start my career I was thrilled and lapped up the opportunities.
- How did you come to work for Revival?
I stayed in housing for 35 years working on exciting projects like the Right to Buy scheme. It was introduced in the 80s by Margaret Thatcher and allowed council tenants the opportunity to buy their home. During that time, we had over 14,000 applications and my department successfully processed over 8,000 of them into sales.
I also worked as an Admin Officer too. From there I worked as a Senior Housing Officer for a local provider. I would deal with housing and rents, and it means I’ve been to court over 300 times, but never as the defendant! We’d go to court with ASB issues or for non-payment of rent. A solicitor would cost a couple of hundred pounds so I asked if I could represent myself on behalf of the organisation. It was allowed and I’d like to think I was the first housing person to face the judge alone in Stoke-on-Trent!
I then went on to work as an Area Manager for an older person’s support service. I managed 14 Scheme Managers, as well as a team of six Housing Officers. Working in Staffordshire and across the north of the country in places like Humberside and Yorkshire. The downside was all the travelling and I once got stuck in traffic for nine hours for a journey that should’ve taken just two!
I was sadly made redundant, so I started to do some temporary work for local housing and support providers in Staffordshire. Then I got an opportunity to work for Revival as a temporary Coordinator, progressed onto a Home Support Worker and then Home Support Officer. I love it here and I never thought that being in my late-50s that I would get so much opportunity… age really doesn’t matter here!
- Tell us about your recent promotion to Home Support Team Leader?
I recently got promoted to Home Support Team Leader. When I found out I got the job I was really chuffed. It was a real achievement because I’d had to start my career all over again when I was made redundant. It was amazing to see that my hard work paid off and I was able to work my way back up again.
What's your proudest achievement so far?
I helped to train Stoke-on-Trent’s first female Asian Housing Officer. Back then there was no diversity in the housing sector. I became a voluntary committee member supporting a local housing association that advocated for black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. I helped my colleague through her training and the last I heard, she’s been a Housing Officer for more than 20 years. I think my parents would be so proud of everything I’ve achieved in my career. I’m glad my dad pushed me away from the mines. Apart from hopefully having a better life expectancy, I’ve enjoyed my career so far and I’m excited for the future.
- What advice would you give to someone wanting to progress their career?
I think I’d have to say, ‘never give up’. When I was made redundant, I could have given up. It wasn’t an easy journey, but I worked my way back up. It just goes to show that if you want something hard enough, you just have to keep pushing to achieve it.