Meet Estate Services Operative John Breame.
Tell us about your job.
My work tends to be seasonal and weather dependent. During spring and summer we mainly cut grass, carry out pruning and look after the flowerbeds. In the autumn and winter period we cut the hedges and tidy up the beds, but this is also a great time to carry out renovations and improvement works.
How did you get into housing?
I applied for a role at Broadland because I felt that this would be a good opportunity to increase my skills. The housing association offers amazing training opportunities and I really wanted to be able to stretch myself. I also love the fact that I can use my horticultural design qualifications on our winter projects.
What’s the best part of your job?
Definitely designing and implementing the improvement works. I also really enjoyed a project last year to grow all our own bedding plants from seeds. Not only did this save the organisation money, but it allowed us to add much more colour to our schemes.
I am really excited to be doing even more this year, as we will have our own polytunnel and will not only be growing bedding plants but also some small evergreen and flowering shrubs.
I am also an Environmental Champion – and this is a great way to influence Broadland’s green agenda. This year we have made a change to our grass-cutting schedule to delay the cutting and encourage increased biodiversity.
What’s the worst part of your job?
Working outside in the cold and rain!
If you could be prime minister for the day, what would you do?
I would ban all fireworks apart from at proper organised events.
I would also put more money into the sector to build more homes. My daughter lives in a Broadland home and I know just how much of a difference this has made for her.
What would you change about the housing sector?
I’d like to see more apprenticeships in housing to encourage younger people into the sector. There are so many opportunities, even within my own department, to learn and grow.
This interview first appeared in Inside Housing, February 2020.