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Jon Hilton is a Neighbourhood hub manager for WLM, West London Mission, and graduated from the LHF sponsored post graduate certificate in housing and homelessness at London South Bank University in the summer of 2021.  We asked him about the course.

Where did you hear about the course and why did you decide to do it

Through Mark Brennan, a colleague at housing justice.   I have a master’s degree already but this was a good way to invest in upskilling without having to make a full time commitment.  Time is a real issue for most people and this was a perfect balance of work and study. The course is good mix of organisational development, housing management and homelessness.

What did you find were the most positive elements?

Understanding governance, risk and ethics was fascinating, and understanding the non-exec roles vs exec functions and the function of a Trustee.  The scandal about Oxfam safeguarding was in the news at the time so this was particularly relevant.  And I am trustee of a charity so it was very beneficial.

How was the course useful in you job?

I did my presentation on organisational culture; focussing on understanding change management – and this was extremely helpful in my day job.

Doing Governance, risk and ethics and organisational development actually helped me see that I needed to move on from my then role.

Are there things that we could improve about the course?

Different bits work for different people.  I found the reflective practice very important, and the work on the coaching was very helpful.  Everyone else seemed to appreciate the consultation module, but this didn’t work for me – it was too technical for my experience

As a result of Covid we didn’t have a residential to start the course at Cumberland Lodge, and with hindsight it would have been so much better not to have done it all online.  To be honest I didn’t think I’d finish because of that; work was manic and it so hard to find the time. But in fact I got a distinction!

And I still in close contact with colleagues via WhatsApp in particular.  There are at least seven of us that keep in touch and discuss work issues.

Who would best benefit from the course?

I think middle managers who need some more experience, and work with an organisation who can support them to take the time.  I also think volunteers would benefit as well maybe

Overall it was a unique experience and I learnt a lot and experience good networking.

I’d recommend it to anyone.

For more information about the course and the professional development programme, click here.