We first shared Ryan’s career milestones for Scottish Housing Day in September 2023. For National Careers Week, we’re resharing Ryan’s story – with a few updates! Ryan B was first inspired to make a career in housing after playing a board game…


“Play” the video below to watch Ryan B’s story:



Or, read Ryan’s story here:


Undergraduate degree

In 2019, I started a housing module during my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Social Policy. It was during this time that I was first inspired to pursue a career in housing, after playing a board game called Hopetown. To play this game, you had to act as a local authority housing stakeholder and make decisions to improve the wellbeing of the residents of Hopetown. After, I remember thinking that housing was such a multi- faceted career because the board game had so many roles. I was also drawn to a career in housing, because the board game allowed me to see the greater positive impact that high quality housing and tenancy support initiatives can have in the community beyond, just the inside of the house. The board game had various “challenges”, that you had to overcome and I was interested in being in a sector which is innovative.


Dissertation and graduation

In June 2021, I graduated from my undergraduate degree after completing a dissertation which was based around student experiences of being private renters in urban areas of Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, was a milestone in my career in housing because it was during this time that I began to read more about the different housing tenures in Scotland and how they are regulated.

In my role as a housing options broker, I want to make the housing options advice that I provide to our clients is, as easy to read and understand as possible, assisting our clients to understand allocations policies or the different tenures of housing which they may be able to apply to.

At university in writing my dissertation, I had to tailor what I wrote to ensure it was accessible to a broader audience rather than being purely academic . Therefore, I am able to transfer this skill from my dissertation writing to my brokerage role.


Housing Studies MSc

In 2021, I began studying a Postgraduate Master’s in Housing Studies, during which I learned valuable skills and knowledge which I am able to deploy in my current role at Housing Options Scotland. The course is CIH accredited and involves various modules which cover different areas of the housing sector including regulation and governance, health and housing and leadership and management. The course also has a part time option. Therefore, I had the opportunity to learn from peers who were already employed in the sector and this was a key milestone for my career in housing because it was through the conversation with peers and learning from their experiences, that I was able to focus and define  my own career objectives including, the role which I would like to perform in a housing organisation.


Volunteering with HOS

In December 2021, whilst still studying for my Postgraduate masters, I began to reflect on my own housing journey and wanted to explore my own housing options using my new found skills and knowledge. It was during this process that I first became aware of HOS. I was inspired by the HOS approach of offering tailored housing advice and being very client focused.  As a result, I decided to begin volunteering with HOS in January 2022. My role involved writing some Area Guides for our clients that explained which services the local authority would offer and provide contact information of local facilities or amenities such as car parking restrictions, education facilities or waste disposal facilities.  During this time, the staff at HOS were very appreciative of the efforts of volunteers, and I received feedback that my volunteering had been useful for the clients.  I was able to use my research skills from university courses, to draft the Area guides.


First internship at Horizon Housing Association

In 2022, as part of my Masters in Housing Studies at the University of Stirling, I also had the opportunity to undertake an internship with Horizon Housing Association, which was incredibly valuable. During this internship, I had the opportunity to attend board meetings and this really inspired me. I learned about the different pathways that led to individuals becoming board members and gaining an insight into how policy changes implemented by a housing association and approved by the board can benefit residents or customers.

Whilst I was undertaking my internship, I also had the opportunity to speak with tenants and it was these conversations with tenants that sparked my interest in customer facing roles in the housing sector, because every day is different and there’s always a new thing to learn. I was also very fortunate to be able to visit some of the accessible housing stock and it was a real privilege to learn from local residents about the positive impact that having an accessible home had.  This would be a milestone moment in my career because after hearing the feedback from the tenants , I am continually reminded of the huge impact that high quality housing and high quality housing advice, can have on an individual’s broader life.


Second internship with Clyde Valley Housing Association

After concluding my postgraduate masters in November 2022, an opportunity in January 2023 for me to then work as an Intern, at Clyde Valley Housing Association within their HR department. As part of my internship, I wrote a report which highlighted areas of good practice and made recommendations for the housing association about how to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the Housing Association, and for their customers. This was my first experience of a strategic role and was thoroughly enjoyable. It was an excellent experience to be able to gain an insight as to how different roles in a housing association can collaborate to deliver for the customer, client or resident.  As part of the customer facing section of my report, I had the opportunity to receive calls from customers , I was drawn to the excitement of the fast paced nature of the role and having a conversation with the customer. because I think it is very satisfying when you are able to provide clarity to customers and make sure that they feel heard in decision making.

During this internship, I spent time with the Business Improvement Team at CVHA testing new software.  This was a really valuable experience because it was something that I had never done before. I was able to draw on experience from my volunteering at HOS regarding making information readable and accessible.


Housing Options Broker at HOS

In April 2023 , I started as housing options broker with HOS. It is a fantastic opportunity for which I am incredibly grateful. Before I became an employee, I was a volunteer with HOS, completing documents to assist our clients in becoming familiar with a different local authority area if they moved local authorities.

I really enjoy speaking to clients and trying to make the housing system and associated policies as simple and accessible as possible for our clients. In my role, I hear from clients about the tangible difference that the HOS service makes.

I continue to learn from colleagues and work collaboratively to deliver high quality housing options advice. I am enormously grateful to all of those who have taken the time over the years to help me develop my skills.


*NEW* Customer Service Qualification

In 2023 , I enrolled on a training course and undertook further learning as part of continual professional development to enhance my customer service skills. I learned a great deal from the course about tailoring customer service language and communication styles to the customer or client’s individual preferences or needs. This has been really beneficial in my work as a broker where we tailor the housing options advice and way in which we communicate to each individual client and their personal circumstances.


*NEW* CIH Speaking slot at Scottish Housing Festival

I was thrilled and honoured to be asked to contribute to a panel discussion about equality, diversity and inclusion in Scotland’s Housing Sector. The discussion was filled with great discussion and debate and the passion that everyone had for increasing equality, diversity and inclusion in the housing sector was clear. It was fantastic to be able to draw upon my experience from working at HOS and my previous work at Clyde Valley Housing.  After the session, it was really beneficial to be able to learn from colleagues across the sector about the ways that they had embedded equality diversity and inclusion in their organisations.