UCL News


Spotlight on Anne Skinner

13 September 2012

This week the spotlight is on Anne Skinner, HR Office Manager, Human Resources Division.

Anne Skinner

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am a full-time HR office manager, responsible for about 100 colleagues. A separate key role for me is that of UCL Staff Accommodation officer, which is the role that brings me most into contact with the wider UCL community.

As UCL Staff Accommodation Officer, I liaise with a wide variety of property owners who have rooms, studios, flats and houses to let and staff who, on joining UCL, need a place to live in London. 

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I was originally recruited in 2001 as PA to the HR Director, but moved to a full-time office manager role in 2004.

I took the Accommodation Officer role on in 2007 and it has been great to see it expand and develop year-on-year, with repeat property owners and seekers coming back to use the service. It is also great to welcome new staff and property owners onto our register.

I am pleased to have seen the accommodation service evolve, following on from colleagues who have laid the foundation for those who need to find a home when they come to work at UCL. It is helpful to get feedback from staff who find a great place to live. Often they become life-long friends with property owners who they may live with or rent properties from.

What work achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I remember only too well how strange it felt arriving in the UK and needing to find a place to live. First impressions are important, and this is where I hope, by giving staff advice on accommodation issues, I can enable them to get off to a good start at UCL and their life in the UK as a whole.

London is expensive and it is often a shock for staff to realise that they need to double their budget if they want to find a place to live. Many wish to live close to the campus but costs can mean this is not an option - as can hoping to find a place to live with a pet - not impossible but difficult!

Transport costs can also be an issue, so while properties are cheaper in outer zones, the lower rent has to be balanced against higher travel costs.

UCL does not have staff accommodation such as flats or houses, so staff seeking housing through the UCL Staff Accommodation Service get offered a range of accommodation that comes from private property owners and other sources. Staff also need to know that they will not get rooms at student halls in term-time - a request that is often made.

An exciting development is the work that is currently taking place on the accommodation website that will be rolled out shortly. The new website will make registering more streamlined, with an online facility enabling property owners to enter their own details online and property seekers to access the listings without my intervention.

What is your life like outside UCL?

I love films and concerts, gardening and, when energy allows, getting to the gym and also catching up with friends. I used to sing both classical and jazz music when younger and am a huge fan of both.

I am also keen on classic cars and it is my dream to own a Morgan 4/4, which will be the first thing I buy if I ever win the lottery. I am also keen on old aircraft.

I live near Old Warden airfield in Bedfordshire, so often see biplanes, Spitfires and Tornados flying by on airshow days - fantastic! I also try to get back to my native New Zealand once every two years, as time and money allow.