Housing should be a career of choice

In the lead up to Scottish Housing Day 2023, Wheatley Group’s Alan Glasgow shares how his career in housing has taken him from a youth trainee at 16 to his latest role as Managing Director for Wheatley Homes South

From an early age, I knew housing was for me. 

I was still a teenager when I became inspired by our local housing officer Jim Mullaney. 

I watched him helping people in our estate and knew this was what I wanted to do. He told me the council took in school leavers from the age of 16. Jim would become my boss almost three years later.

My first job was in the Skill Seeker programme run by Glasgow City Council (similar to today’s modern apprenticeship scheme) which included work placements across various council offices. My first one was at Castlemilk Housing Office.  I loved it. 

Within a few months, I moved to the cash room, taking in rent money and doing admin duties. I was then promoted to the finance team to process housing benefit claims and manage arrears cases. One thing I really enjoyed was the chance to speak to customers and help them – something I still enjoy to this day. 

In my 30 years in housing (so far) I have done almost every role – from admin to processing claims, from housing assistant to housing officer – the best job I ever had. My career path in Wheatley has seen me in a variety of roles including performance and audit.

Wheatley has a great ethos of becoming the best you can be and for promoting from within. I was lucky enough to get opportunities to become Head of Housing in the Group’s subsidiaries in West Lothian and Edinburgh. I then ended up back in my first patch in Castlemilk as a Locality Housing Director before taking on my current role as Managing Director at Wheatley Homes South, the second biggest RSL in Scotland, in Dumfries and Galloway.

I grew up in a tough housing estate in Pollok where housing was everything. I’ve always seen it as my job to help any customer with whatever they need.

I have been fortunate to have been supported by Wheatley in terms of my personal development. There are so many opportunities to take on both internal and external training and development. 

Throughout my career, I have wanted to use my experience and what I have learned to help other people. Helping to support our trainees is really important to me. 

I have learned so much over the years, from starting as a teenager to becoming a Managing Director and I want to share that, especially with young people coming through our modern apprentice or graduate schemes. I have met so many people and been supported so much myself.

I think the sector needs to work with partners and stakeholders to make sure those same opportunities are there for kids leaving school. Housing should be a career of choice. There are so many different types of roles for young people in the housing sector – from trade or environmental apprentices to business admin jobs and graduate opportunities. There really is something for everyone.