Certified Housing Professional: Aobakwe Mamona

Name: Aobakwe Mamona

Occupation: Housing Services Officer, Department of Communities – Housing, WA

Certification Level: Level 1

Years in Housing: 18 months

Why did you seek accreditation?

“I sought accreditation mainly to improve my chances of employability, I guess; to be able to move around within the department, to assist me in keeping current and up-to-date with industry standards.”

“I think it’ll also open up opportunities to work around the world because, I feel, Australia isn’t really into accreditations but there are countries that hold accreditations up high, like the UK.”

What does a day in your life look like? Do you have a routine?

“Every day is pretty much different, as far as a schedule goes. I’d say that my plans, in most cases, involve coming into the office, checking my emails, returning phone calls, following up on inspections, checking tenants’ accounts for compliance. But, then again, in the name of planning to do all that, it really depends on what happens.”

“A phone call can come in – it might be a property that was on fire – and then, really, pretty much the focus of the whole day would be trying to figure out what we need to do. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’ in my role. I do as much as I can to have a routine but it’s not always the case.”

How do you think you can personally contribute to the housing industry as a CHP?

“I think, at the moment, I don’t have that much experience to make a lot of change in the industry or contribute that much. The one thing that I would do is encourage my colleagues to seek accreditation so they can continue to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry – not just within the government sector but beyond – and maybe find out how we can improve based on benchmarking whatever is happening out there.”

What is your secret housing ‘weapon’?

“A smile goes a long way in breaking down barriers, especially when working in social housing where most of my tenants are vulnerable. So, even over the phone, I have figured if I smile – in a genuine way – it sometimes helps to break down barriers. That, coupled with empathy helps me deal with my tenants in a way that, at the end of the day, their issues are resolved and, if they’re not resolved immediately, we’ll find a way to resolve them.”

How do you think the housing industry compares to other industries in terms of recognising its professionals?

“I don’t think there is much difference. I’ve also worked in the construction industry for a little while. And, working for government, we do have professional development – it’s only that it is not aligned with accreditation.”

What do you hope this accreditation will mean to you and others in the future?

“For me, personally, it will assist me to continue to improve my performance and outcomes in line with requirements and standards, and hopefully assist me to easily transition between responsibilities, as well as assisting me in sharing what I learn within the agency and suggesting improvements.”

“To keep my accreditation, I have to continue my professional development. I can’t go through the year without any training otherwise I lose my accreditation. So being a CHP is helping me to continue to stay relevant in the industry.”

“If the majority of people working in the industry were to sign up for accreditation like what the AHI offers, it would help set a level playing field for everyone. And the outcomes would definitely be better, as compared to when every agency is doing their own thing.” 

If you were to make a desert island your home, what five things would you take with you and why?

“I think the first thing would be The Bible because of the principles that are in there; the ones that really enable me to be grounded and enable me to deal with challenges throughout the day at work. So that’s the first thing that I can’t leave behind.”

“I would also bring my wife – she keeps me grounded and able to deal with challenges. I can’t leave her behind. She’s been my support from way back. I’d also take my daughter. She keeps me young and makes things fun with her quirky questions. So she’d definitely be there.”

“I’ll also need a satellite phone because I’ve got family all around the world, and I would need to keep in contact with them. And then, finally, a bug spray. You need a good night’s sleep on an island. You don’t want any bugs biting at night!”

Click here for more information about becoming a Certified Housing Professional.