Profile: Amelia Norton, Futures Housing Group and CW15 Trainee Author: Guest     
Date: 3rd August 2016



Amelia Norton joined the Charityworks programme in 2015 working for Futures Housing Group as a Business Development Graduate. At the time of writing, early in her placement, Amelia highlighted her expectations entering the sector from a volunteering background and compared this to the reality of her corporate role in housing.  As of 2017, Amelia is still working at Futures Housing group where she now manages a £1.2m development providing 12 new homes in Somercotes, Derbyshire. 


 

Hi Amelia, can you explain just what your day-to-day job as a Business Development Graduate, actually involves?

My day to day role is incredibly varied, and since I have started no two days have been the same. The team I work in have been fantastic as they give me responsibility and control of my day-to-day workload meaning that my role has a good amount of flexibility. I cover tasks from looking at potential development sites, which is great as you get to go out and visit places; taking photos and getting a feel for what a development might look like; designing developments and house types, which involves working with architects and planners; running financial appraisals to assess the financial viability of sites; managing the cash flows for each of the 31 current development sites and so much more.


“I was driven to this sector after volunteering, mainly on projects aimed at reducing inequalities children face as a result of the socio-economic status they are born into.”



Given your experience on the programme so far, if someone asked why you work where you do, or in the third sector generally, what would you say?

Well I was initially motivated to work in the sector by a desire to bring about change and be involved in work with a social purpose. This is furthered by my personal desire to live in a world where community is more important and social capital is increasingly valued. I was driven to this sector after volunteering, mainly on projects aimed at reducing the inequalities children face as a result of the socio-economic status they are born into, so when I joined Charityworks I would have said that was where I wanted to work. However, the reason has changed since working at Futures – a housing association. Now I work where I do because I see the value in creating strong communities through quality housing. Also, I really enjoy Futures’ work environment and feel supported in my role. Therefore, I work where I do for the culture of the workplace, though the reason I work in the third sector is because of my initial and continuous desire to create positive change at various levels of society.


“Before Charityworks…I would not have put housing association and third sector in the same boat.  [But] housing has proven to be an area which offers great variety and [social focus is something I] have seen in action”.



Does the reality differ from the expectation you had about working in the third sector?

Before Charityworks and Futures, I would have never considered working for a housing association. In fact, I probably would not have even put housing association and third sector in the same boat. Therefore once I was offered my role at Futures I did not really know what to expect as the weird public-private hybrid housing associations seem to embody was alien to me. I also thought that roles would be limited and not particularly varied. How wrong I was! Housing has proven to be an area which offers great variety with a breadth of roles, and a breadth of people working within them. In addition, I think the term third sector made me have an expectation that it was somehow removed; but since working in my role I have found that as an organisation the workings are very similar to that of a ‘private’ organisation. However, a crucial difference prevails, that organisations are socially focused, something I expected and have seen in action.


 

 

Update (April 2017): 

After completing her Charityworks placement in August 2016, Amelia remained at Futures Housing Group.  Just 5 months after starting a career in social housing through Charityworks, Amelia began managing a major £1.2m development to provide 12 new homes in Somercotes, Derbyshire.  She has been involved in all aspects of the development from purchasing the land to working with the wider business to ensure the site delivers homes for local people.  More information about Amelia, including a video interview is available on the Futures Housing Group website here.

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