Certified Housing Professional: Professor David Adamson

Name: Professor David Adamson

Occupation: Research and Development Manager, Compass Housing

Certification Level: Level 3

Years in Housing: 20 

Why did you seek accreditation?

“For me, it was as a new arrival in Australia. There were two motives, really. The first one was to benchmark my experience against professional standards in a new country, and how my experience fitted with the general professional experience in Australia; and the second reason was, of course, to give myself some credibility and have someone assess my experience and accredit it to a national standard. So it was a combination of benchmarking myself and also having myself recognised in the new context.” 

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

“I wish I could say I do. It’s incredibly varied. I do anything from straightforward desk research on things like housing policy to working directly on tenders with colleagues in the operational branches of the organisation. So, basically, my day is lending, research and knowledge management and support to a wide range of colleagues.” 

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

“I think, for me, my role is to identify ways of increasing the availability, increasing quality of social housing accommodation and, particularly, working on methods of improving outcomes for tenants. My role is very much around researching good practice and developing new models and, chiefly in New South Wales, the emphasis is on better social outcomes for tenants. I have a lot of experience in the UK in community-based regeneration. A lot of my work in the UK was in the context of overall quality strategy. I’m very passionate about how we lift people out of poverty.” 

What is your secret housing ‘weapon’?

“I suppose what I brought with me is something that is termed a ‘deep place’ method and it’s a way of reviewing the social conditions in a community in a very intensive way to devise new renewal strategies; in particular, for ways of employing tenants, many of whom have a long-term unemployment record.”

“We’re just beginning to implement this now in New South Wales. I’ve just completed a study of the Muswellbrook area and that’s been endorsed by the [NSW] Department of Premier and Cabinet and we’ve started working on that. So I suppose my secret ‘weapon’ is nearly 30 years of community-based regeneration and the knowledge that can be applied to social housing communities.” 

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

“Obviously, I’m a bit limited in my ability to comment on the Australian housing sector because I’ve only been here a relatively short while but it does seem to me, certainly, to be on a par with other industries and possibly better in the way that some bodies like the Australasian Housing Institute offer awards and professional development activities. So I would rate it quite highly.” 

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

“For me, it’s a question of promoting professionalism and people who aspire to higher standards in their expertise and in their practice. An accreditation scheme is good for internal confidence of the people who are accredited, and those they work with, but it’s also good for external confidence, such as the agencies that wish to work with us. I think it means they can be assured of the professionalism and expertise of the housing agencies they work with, so I think it’s all about the credibility of the sector.” 

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

“Well, this takes a little bit of thinking about. I’m a pretty good carpenter so [I’d take] a saw and an axe – that would enable me to make the things I need like living shelter. Shelter is the most fundamental of all human needs so that’s a pretty important one. I’d want some human company so I’d prefer to be stranded with another body of some description so that would make life more interesting because I can’t do without conversation. I would quite like an Internet connection – that’s the only way I can view the world, even if I can’t contact it. And the final thing, I would have to have a guitar. I can’t get through a day without playing a guitar for at least 20 minutes.”