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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

“The CIH mentoring scheme helped me to put some achievable steps in place to see my career development evolve”


We spoke to Emma Brute, project manager of business improvement at United Welsh about her mentoring experience and the steps she’s now put in place for her continued professional development to grow.

How did you first hear about the mentoring scheme?

I first heard about the scheme through a colleague of mine who had just been assigned a mentor. She is a member of CIH Futures Cymru.

Why did you want to have a mentor?

I wanted to progress in my career. It was following some really constructive feedback I had from colleagues whilst seconded to a housing manager’s post that made me realise that I should be aiming higher. I wanted someone from outside of my organisation who could help me with this but who could share their own experiences and career development with me. Coincidently, my mentor had followed a very similar path to me, so we fit really well.

Can you tell us a bit more about where your housing career has taken you?

I was a housing officer before I was seconded to the housing manager’s post, the project manager vacancy was created after recommendations I had made about work which I had identified during my secondment. This was prior to the mentorship programme.

What are the main things that you have got out of being mentored?

Clear direction and support. My mentor was objective and fair, listening to my passions and goals. The scheme allowed me to take time to think about my career development and actually put some achievable steps in place to see that development evolve, with regular guidance and support from my mentor.

Who are you being mentored by and how often do you communicate?

I’m being mentored by Tom Broadhead, director of business improvement at Melin Homes. We meet face to face every quarter but more frequently if required and often email. Our first meeting consisted of a scoping exercise of what exactly I wanted from the mentorship scheme which led me to complete a personal development five year plan.

Can you tell us a bit more about the steps you put in place that you’d like to achieve perhaps over the next year?

I have concluded the following steps I wish to achieve over the next 12 months in line with my personal development plan:

  • Complete a leadership development programme and professional project management qualifications
  • Deliver further improvements through the new business improvement function ‘Collaborate’
  • Raise my professional profile within the sector – build connections within housing networks
  • Become a board member
  • Implement Locality working in Blaenau Gwent

Did your mentor help to support you in thinking of these achievable steps?

Very much so, we completed the CIH mentoring form during the very first meeting we had. The form was really useful since it gave us the opportunity to drill down to identify practical steps to move forward.

What would you say to anyone considering getting involved with the scheme?

Whether as a mentor or a mentee it is worthwhile. It builds confidence and helps provide clarity on what you want from your career, whilst learning from someone who has been there themselves. It has actually encouraged me to become a mentor myself.

Have you signed up to become a CIH mentor? If so, what are you hoping to get out of being a mentor, rather than being a mentee?

I haven’t signed up with CIH to become a mentor as yet, however, I am mentoring a colleague who is completing a CIH level 4 in housing qualification, which has been really useful in sharing what I have learnt myself.

If you’d like to find out more about the CIH mentoring scheme, applying for a mentor or looking to become a mentor yourself, click here.

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