On Jan 16, 2002, our social housing expert Mark Grove started his first day at BRC. Here he looks back at major highlights in his 17-year career in the business as well as what the future holds.
Q: Can you remember your first job secured at BRC?
A: Yes! My first placement was with Reading Borough Council – a Homelessness Officer on a temporary three-month contract. I remember getting the candidate on board first, carrying out the background checks, then calling around clients with their details before arranging interviews and a start. I went home with a big smile on my face that night!
Q: What has been your biggest highlight/s of working at BRC?
A: Seeing the growth at BRC from the five members of staff when I joined to where we are today with more than 30 people has been really pleasing. When I joined, we only had two candidates on the housing desk and no clients on the database, so the early years were a hard slog of getting us noticed in the market. Helping develop the consultants on the housing desk to build their own business within BRC has been fantastic to see and I have made some great friendships along the way.
Q: What are the major changes you have noticed in the social housing sector in the past 17 years?
There have been so many challenges that have come from various sources, but the sector has been resilient and always adapts to change. Housing Associations have grown considerably, and there was always a danger that with the growth there would be a dilution of quality of services, but the opposite seems to have happened – they have invested much more in their tenants, building communities rather than just homes and in ensuring that tenants have a voice within these communities.
Q: 17 years is a long time, what has changed for you in this period?
A: A few more grey hairs than when I started at BRC! Professionally, I’ve forged some excellent relationships with clients and enjoy working with some of the best housing professionals in the country – people who have great vision and drive to develop their organisations to be the best that they can. On the personal side, I’ve had the joy to see my daughter develop into a well-balanced soon-to-be teenager, found a new love for personal fitness with my running and cycling. Unfortunately, my golf has suffered as I don’t have the time I used to!
Q: What does the next year hold for you?
A: It’s a really exciting year for us at BRC as we celebrate our 20th anniversary. We’ve been incredibly busy over the past six months with temporary and permanent roles and so I look forward to helping as many people as possible to develop their careers. One of the things I want to do more of is supporting some of our clients and their tenants with careers advice to help those who are struggling with employability to achieve their goals of securing a job. I truly believe this in turn assists them in maintaining their tenancies.
Q: Why has BRC been the place you have wanted to work for nearly two decades?
A: The support I’ve had from day one has been fantastic. We’re treated as individuals, recognising that everyone has different skill sets and using these to their maximum benefit to BRC and the individual. Everyone works differently and we all achieve our successes in different ways – it works. The people here are also like an extended family – we enjoy working together. I’ve worked in larger corporates before and have just felt like a number to senior management, here I feel valued and enjoy coming to work each day.
Congratulations on this milestone from everyone at BRC Mark – here’s to another 17 years!