Plus Dane Housing – from tea girl to CEO

Merseyside and Cheshire based housing association Plus Dane aims to providing meaningful employment and career opportunities for those seeking a vocational route into a career. Plus Dane announced a new policy in March 2017: all entry-level jobs will now be apprenticeships, to ensure that even more young people can benefit from an alternative route to higher education and make a valuable contribution to the business across all teams, from repairs and maintenance to corporate services, HR, IT and property.

Barbara’s journey

Not one to shy away from hard work, Barbara left school after her O Levels and had plenty of opportunities to ‘learn on the job’, working her way up from a ‘tea girl’ at Knowsley Council and moving on to work at CDS Housing, before going on to become chief executive of Salford Council and the Skills Funding Agency, then taking the helm as Chief Executive at Plus Dane Housing.

She has always been a big believer in helping people into skills and employment and was awarded a CBE in 2015 as well as the title Business Leader of the Year 2017 for her services to skills and education.

This firm belief in giving people life-changing opportunities has never left her and last year she firmed up her commitment by taking on a record 18 apprentices in one recruitment drive at Plus Dane, and will be seeking to create more apprenticeships in subsequent years.

Her commitment to ensuring people have a ‘good home’ and ‘job prospects’ are the driving force behind her future plans for Plus Dane Housing.

“As a leader I feel passionately about nurturing talent and especially about bringing young people into the workforce and giving them the tools and space to grow. I hope that I’m a future role model to our young females – to show them that hard work and determination pays off.”