Trainee Development Project Officers: Celebrating 6 months

Faizal, Luke and Rachel on a WWH construction site in Northop wearing hard hats and hi-visibility vests

Our Grow our own initiative has been going from strength to strength since our first trainee positions were filled in early 2021. 6 months ago, Faizal Sweeney, Luke Morris and Rachel Darlington successfully secured themselves roles within our Development Team as Trainee Development Project Officers. We wanted to learn about their experience so far, what they’ve learnt from the Grow our own programme and how they’re settling in to life at Wales & West, so we sat down for a quick chat to find out more:

What initially attracted you to a trainee programme at Wales & West Housing?

Luke: The original job advertisement had lots of information which clearly showed what the comprehensive training programme entailed. It mentioned that the program is split up into the first and second year and explored the various ways in which I could learn within the company, combined with experiencing different aspects of the job to fully prepare me for when I complete the trainee role. The amount of thought and detail put into the Grow our own scheme showed me that Wales & West Housing really care about developing my skills and ensuring I have all the equipment necessary for a successful career.

Rachel: After finishing my studies at university, I knew I wanted to succeed in a graduate scheme that had some relevance to my degree in planning. I was recommended to apply for the graduate scheme from a friend as they knew that Wales & West are a great company to work for, and they were definitely right!

Has the role matched your expectations from 6 months ago? 

Rachel: Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the role, but I am thoroughly enjoying it so far! It has definitely exceeded my expectations as my knowledge in development is expanding every day.

Faizal: Yes, it has. I have picked up a great deal of knowledge on issues regarding our projects.  I am now looking forward to the next few months when I will be heading up my own development projects.

What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

Luke: I have a range of improvement projects which I am working on alongside my fellow Trainee Development Project Officers. Typically I will concentrate on a couple of projects per day, whilst also shadowing Development Officers in the North Wales team to get valuable first-hand experience on the development process. Furthermore, I try to balance my own learning – Wales and West have great resources for this, such as online courses and webinars, which have been really beneficial for expanding my knowledge and furthering my development.

Faizal: Currently we are working on multiple projects in which we are looking to help streamline the development process for all involved.  This ranges from development, housing and to the most important people – our residents.

What is your favourite thing about working for Wales & West Housing?

Rachel: Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming over the past 6 months! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a range of different people across different departments. I feel that I can ask anyone for help and they are always willing to help in every way they can.

Luke: The people. Ever since joining, everyone I’ve spoken to has been really friendly and helpful. Everybody is so open and has been keen to lend a helping hand or words of advice. I’ve really enjoyed building relationships with people throughout the business and look forward to developing them further in the future.

Faizal: It is going to sound very generic, but it is 100% true when people say it is a great place to work.  Before I started here, two former colleagues (who had previously worked for Wales & West Housing) stated it is a great place to work and when I started in the role, each person I met said the same thing. I am six months in and I 100% agree. Every person has been welcoming and if I need help – I know that someone will help without feeling that I am putting that person out.

Would you recommend a trainee role with WWHG to others? Why? Why not?

Luke: I would definitely recommend it to others. I feel that it’s been a great starting point my career, as I have been allowed to build my knowledge and gradually increase my level of responsibility throughout the course. In other businesses, I’m sure that my own development would be a secondary concern, but that is certainly not the case in a WWH trainee role. Furthermore, I have a great support network so that if I do have any issues, I know exactly where to go.

Faizal: Yes, without a doubt. Not only is Wales & West Housing a great place to work but with how the Grow our own programme is set up, I have picked up a great amount of knowledge which will help me progress successfully into the development sector.

Rachel: I would definitely recommend a trainee role, it’s a great introduction for the first step into your career!

Dan Ryan