Kari has found her way to her ideal job by taking opportunities with BCHA – starting out with volunteering. Volunteers and mentors are vital to BCHA’s work and in Kari’s case this led to a full-time career.

“I completed an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Psychology and wanted to find work opportunities within probation.

“As I had no work experience with ex-offenders a former BCHA staff member put me in contact with one of the supported schemes which houses ex-offenders.

“In February 2012 I became a BCHA volunteer and attended a mentoring course through the BCHA’s Ignite programme. In May that year I also became a relief support worker which allowed me to gain more experience while I also volunteered and worked part-time as an admin assistant.

“I was still looking for opportunities within probation but, as I had always wanted to work for an organisation where I was helping people in some way, I started to look more towards BCHA and the work they do.

“After a year volunteering in supported accommodation I decided to spread my wings and move to a different department.

“In 2013 I began to volunteer in the general needs department and, after a meeting with the General Needs Housing Manager, I was offered the opportunity to work full-time for six months as a Housing Administrator.

“Even though there were no guarantees that this would go anywhere I took a leap of faith and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.”

“Over the years I have worked my way up from Housing Administrator to Housing Assistant to Housing Officer, and I’m now an Income Recovery and Financial Inclusion Officer.

“Not only has BCHA helped me find a passion for housing I didn’t know I had, but I have also made life-long friends along the way.”