Hunter headquartered community housing provider, Compass Housing Services, is establishing its own in-house property maintenance division.
The new division is said to bring local jobs and apprenticeships, as well as savings that can be directed back into improving housing for tenants.
My Place Property Maintenance will ultimately create 40 more permanent Compass Housing jobs.
In fact, only a few weeks ago Compass placed adverts for 18 positions for plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and cleaners. The service will be based in Beresfield from October 2020.
Staff will service and maintain 2,600 social, affordable and disability housing homes that Compass manages in the Hunter and on the Central Coast.
It will be the headquarters for staff who will service another 1,800 homes in Cessnock and Taree, for which Compass takes over responsibility for maintaining in June 2021, as well as new homes Compass is building locally.
Compass Housing piloted the service model in the Upper Hunter this year. Its Muswellbrook property maintenance facility employs seven people.
Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Tierney, said with Compass Housing’s growing property portfolio it makes sense to establish its own service over contracting out.
“As we now own or have many properties under long term leases, we have more certainty to invest in our own property maintenance infrastructure and workforce rather than using temporary, outsourced, contract arrangements which can be expensive,” Lisa said.
She said bringing all property maintenance services in-house will generate savings that can be put back into property upgrades to provide better homes for Compass’ tenants.
The plan is to employ more people including apprentices to be supervised by its trade qualified staff. Compass will target those apprenticeships to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with a focus on engaging indigenous youth.
“If you are looking for opportunities to grow and develop your skills and qualifications while making a difference in the community then Compass Housing wants to hear from you,” she said.
“Compass Housing is an award-winning employer offering competitive wages, flexible work arrangements, access to not for profit salary packaging and ongoing professional development including access to an annual training allowance and paid study leave.”
Carpenter Michael Treutlein and Maintenance Plumber Aiden Birrell both joined the Muswellbrook service earlier this year. The two Newcastle residents will soon work out of the Beresfield facility.
Both men said the security of employment and the good pay and conditions are just some of the benefits of working for Compass Housing.
Aiden said the role suits his qualifications and interests and he is enjoying the autonomy he has in his role.
“Working for a not for profit like Compass, as opposed to small plumbing businesses, means I have more career options too,” Aiden said.
“And I know I am doing something that is making the lives of people living in social housing better.”
The jobs come at a time of rising unemployment. Latest Bureau of Statistics figures show more than 40,000 jobs have been lost in the Hunter since the start of the pandemic in February.
The jobless rate for June rose by 1 percentage point in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie on the previous month to 11.1 per cent, while in the Hunter Valley, the rate rose from 5.9 to 7.4 per cent.
The youth unemployment figure in Newcastle is 24.8 per cent. Experts say the effective unemployment rates are higher than the official figures.
Compass Housing is a Tier 1, not for profit, community housing provider and an NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation provider. It manages almost 7000 properties in NSW and Queensland and is continuing to experience growth in operations.
IMAGE | Michael Treutlein and Aiden Birrell – new members of Compass Housing’s My Place Property Maintenance Division.