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Scottish Housing Day 2023

From trainee to Director of Customer Experience, Tracey Howatt looks back on a career spanning almost four decades as part of Scottish Housing Day celebrations.

Beginning her career with Bield at the age of 17, Tracey has amassed an impressive 37 years of service. 

Having joined the organisation as a housing trainee in 1986, her vast experience covers all aspects of supporting applicants and tenants, from Housing Officer to Housing Services Manager for regions across Scotland. 

Appointed as Director of Customer Experience in early 2022, Tracey is now responsible for implementing Bield’s customer portal, as part of our digital strategy, as well as working with communities to transform how the 5000+ tenants interact with and access our services. 

Tracey said: “This year’s theme for Scottish Housing Day is celebrating housing as a career, and I know first-hand how rewarding that can be. Working at Bield has given me so many fantastic opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

“When I joined Bield after leaving high school, I didn’t know what to expect. I had the choice between a trainee role in support services or housing, choosing housing is a decision I’ve not regretted. 

“I’ve helped hundreds of people across Scotland access suitable housing, there is nothing better than the joy on people’s faces when you’ve helped someone to find housing which can allow them to live the life they want.”

In her time as Housing Services Manager, Tracey worked with developments in Fife, Tayside, Stirling, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Lothian, the Borders and North and South Lanarkshire.

Tracey continued: “Working with tenants is, and always has been, my favourite part of my job. Listening to how our services impact their lives is vital to ensuring we provide the best possible experience.

“Bield has transformed significantly since I first joined.  In the 90s we implemented Bield’s first computerised system, which was so new and exciting back then. 

“Now we’re working to launch our new online customer portal, My Bield, and using innovative technology in our digital hub in Linlithgow.”

Last year, we secured £75k of funding from the Technology for our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (TAPPI) project which aims to improve the way technology is used in housing and care for older people.  We have used some of this funding to open the Bield Tech Hub at our West Port development. 

Dr Lynne Douglas, CEO at Bield, added: “Tracey has been an indispensable member of the Bield team for years and it is no surprise that she has risen through the ranks and is continuing to innovate and add value to us as an organisation.

“We truly believe in providing opportunities for our colleagues to develop their personal and professional skills. 

“A career in housing is so rewarding, and has a positive impact on so many people; Tracey is living proof of that. She has played a pivotal role in delivering a number of exciting projects, and we’re excited to see what the future brings.” 

Scottish Housing Day is celebrated across Scotland on 13 September, and this year celebrates housing as a career, raising awareness of the different routes into the sector and why it is such an impactful profession.