Jeff Joseph, alumnus, FdA Urban Regeneration and BA (Hons) Housing Studies
Although he had been working in the urban regeneration and housing field for 20 years, Jeff Joseph felt that experience alone was not enough for him to fulfill his potential. “I just wanted to have the formal academic qualifications to accompany the experience I had already amassed,” says Jeff. “I needed the in-depth understanding that a degree could provide to help me as a regeneration specialist, to cement and complement the experience I already had.”
As Jeff began to look around for the best university to study for the qualification he needed, LSBU stood out as a natural choice. “Combining the Foundation degree in Urban Regeneration and then moving on to the BA (Hons) in Housing Studies was a great experience,” he says. “Learning from my peers and the exposure to academics with a wealth of knowledge were two of the highlights for me – as was achieving a First Class Honours degree in three years.”
Jeff is the Community Investment Manager for Higgins Construction PLC, and although he was already in the role before starting his studies, he feels that his LSBU experience has made him more professional, better read and more educated. “In essence, I think, write and present more academically,” he says. “I also have more confidence as a result of learning to view things from a different angle and that’s something that helps with all manner of work life.”
Every aspect of my performance has been enhanced as a result of my degree.
Jeff’s role is a varied one to say the least. “I deliver everything beyond the bricks and mortar,” he says. “I manage and deliver community programmes to make sure that the stakeholders on the redevelopments we work on become part of the process and don’t feel excluded from the works or the construction process.
“On a day-to-day basis, this translates as communicating our delivery to stakeholders, executing programmes that enhance the life of residents, helping to build communities, delivering local labour into construction schemes, and leading on all matters pertaining to corporate and social responsibility.”
It’s a challenging position for Jeff, but it’s one he gladly admits he enjoys. “I like all aspects of my work, especially building sustainable communities against the backdrop of a housing redevelopment,” he says. “The biggest challenges are keeping ahead of our competitors and make sure I am up to date with the legislation that might affect what we do.”
Thanks to his degree from LSBU, Jeff feels that his future is a positive one. “The world of community development is a great one to work in,” he says. “When I started out twenty years ago, it was unusual and disjointed. These days, it is more commonplace but remains a specialist field, and it’s a great one to be in.
“My aims for the future are to ensure that Higgins Construction stays at the forefront of the industry, while I play my part by being at the help of a vibrant and proactive CSR team.”
Although he may have been a latecomer to HE, Jeff’s parting comment suggests that he isn’t finished with his education just yet: “I’d still love to undertake a Master’s or a PhD,” he smiles.