Amy Smith is the National Prevention Services manager for Depaul leading on their national education programme aimed primarily at secondary schools and offering workshops and targeted interventions to raise awareness about youth homelessness. She also leads their national family support and mediation services, aimed at preventing family breakdown and preventing homelessness. She recently graduated from the LHF funded Housing and Homelessness post grad certificate run by London South Bank University with a distinction. We asked her to tell us about the course.
I was attracted to the course as although I had different qualifications, I’d never had a chance to do post grad. And of course the financial support is crucial as education can be financially tricky. I’d also seen other people progress in their career as a result of doing the course. For example, my former area director is now a CEO elsewhere.
When I started the course, the next promotion felt like a big step for me and this course was designed to give me some extra skills and confidence, and an even better understanding of the sector and the various roles within it.
I found the accounting module really useful. It can be hard to get experience and develop confidence in finance, yet you need to have the understanding to get into a senior role. I now understand the accounts and modelling better than I did and have more confidence to present a financial case.
My new role is developmental and so the unit about organisational development was very relevant. We looked at leadership and management, and how we change things organisationally: the tools of identifying what the issue is, the different ways of how we address it, and the evidence base to justify our decisions.
And the course also gave me the opportunity to step outside of work and think about how to do things more effectively. It’s always very busy in the day to day job and you don’t always get a chance to think about things in a different way, to reflect on what you do and why you do it. For me it was about bringing the theoretical understanding and an evidence base. For example, knowing that there is evidence for a particular technique or practice.
Completing the course successfully definitely made me feel more able to do the job I do now – and it was very relevant for the things I now want to achieve. I have now moved from a regional role to a national role; and the course helped me with the confidence to apply.
I think the course is ideally suited to people who want to move into more senior management roles: people who have good service management experience but are looking for the next step.
One of the key things I will take away is the network of people I now have. I feel very lucky to have spent the past year working with such an inspiring group of people who are so dedicated and passionate about ending homelessness We’re all still in contact – and in the current covid crisis we have been keeping in touch and sharing knowledge. I think all of our services are better as a result.
For more information about the LHF funded LSBU course go to https://lhf.org.uk/leadership-course/