For the next edition of our Homegrown Heroes series, we spoke to James Hancock, Risk and Assurance Manager at PCH.
James joined the business 12 years ago as a Project Performance and Policy Officer following the completion of a four-week work experience placement at PCH. He had recently finished his degree in geography at the University of Plymouth and wanted to gain more experience in a work environment.
James enjoyed studying human geography at university and originally wanted to become a town planner. The focus of his dissertation was ‘what makes a good sense of community?’. This work sparked a passion in James for learning about the built environment, communities, and most importantly, the people who live in them.
The Project Performance and Policy role was the first of its kind at PCH and in this role, James worked on projects to set up systems which still exist today. James also helped to draft policies and procedures needed as part of the organisation’s transition from Plymouth City Council to become an independent business.
In October 2014, James was seconded into the Tenancy Management team as an Assistant Housing Officer, and he stayed in that role for 14 months. James enjoyed being able to directly help make a difference to the lives of residents. This was especially the case when completing tenancy sign ups so new tenants could move into properties they often desperately needed.
Following the completion of his secondment, James returned to the policy team, but in February 2016, he applied for a Housing Officer position and was successful at interview. He remained in the Tenancy Management team as a Housing Officer for six years.
In July 2022, James applied for a secondment in the Customer Services team as Risk and Assurance Manager. Part of the secondment included studying for a certificate in operational risk management, which was sponsored by PCH. In January 2023 James passed his exams, although he said he continues to learn on the job every day.
James remains in this role today and enjoys working with other PCH staff across areas of the business that he previously worked within, as well as new areas of the business.
James said: “I love working for PCH, and I really enjoy working with my colleagues, both past and present.
“I know how much of a difference PCH can make to our communities and the residents that live there, and knowing you are there to support them with problems both big and small is really refreshing.
“There is so much more for us to do, and it’s great to be part of a business that not only cares but has such potential to grow. I’ve always cared about making a difference, and I know that colleagues feel the same.”
Angie Edwards-Jones, Head of Customer Experience and Assurance, and James’s current manager, is pleased to have James as a permanent member of her team.
Angie said: “James came to the Customer Experience Team from Tenancy Management as a Risk and Assurance Manager just over a year ago, and secured the position on a permanent basis, having successfully completed a risk qualification.
“He has developed his knowledge of risk and business continuity during his time with the team, and has built positive relationships with the wider organisation, including the Board. His previous experience has no doubt supported his broader knowledge of PCH.”