Futures supports first class graduate to manage £1.2m development

A young graduate is managing her first major development - just 14 months after starting her career in housing. 

Amelia Norton, 22, is now assistant development officer at Futures Housing Group having joined the East Midlands-based housing provider’s graduate scheme in September 2015. 

The Group has a core commitment to training, developing and providing opportunities for its staff and local people. 

Amelia grabbed her opportunity with both hands. Despite never working in the sector before, she quickly made an impact at Futures and is now being supported to manage a £1.2m site that will provide 12 new homes in Somercotes, Derbyshire. 

Project provides empowering moment 

“It was a really empowering moment to be given this project,” Amelia said. 

“I’d only been with Futures for five months and it was a really good opportunity to be trusted to manage the site having received coaching and one to one guidance from the Development Director. 

"It’s important for me to get some on-site experience because development is all about getting out there and getting stuck in.” 

Amelia has been involved in all aspects of the development from purchasing the land to working with the wider business to ensure the site delivers much-needed homes for local people. 

The development, which is grant-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), has seen Amelia work directly with several external partners, including Anthony Collins, Richard Morris Associates, Letts Wheeler, Nottingham Developments Limited and Geo Dyne. 

“We bought the land in April and that was an amazing experience as I’ll probably never be able to spend that amount of money myself!” Amelia said. 

“The approvals process followed which involved liaising with our neighbourhoods and assets teams to ensure the new properties will be right for Futures and our customers. 

“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how crucial it is to look at the development process from a customer perspective and get different teams involved.” 

Amelia’s site on Sleetmoor Lane, Somercotes comprises six one-bedroom flats, three two-bedroom flats and three two-bedroom houses and forms part of Futures’ ambitious plans to build 1,000 new homes by 2020. 

Alan Boucker, Director of Development at Futures Housing Group, said: “Amelia is the perfect example of a young person that has absolutely made the most of the opportunities she has been given at Futures. 

“Amelia has learned a lot over a short space of time and being afforded this level of extra responsibility, with the support and guidance of other colleagues, seems like the logical step in her rapid development. 

“Since joining the development team, Amelia has shown great initiative and work-ethic to seamlessly fit in with our organisation and our vision for continued growth and providing great homes for our customers. 

“I have been really impressed by her progress so far and look forward to seeing what she will achieve with this site and hopefully many other developments in the future.” 

Placement provides career progression in the housing sector 

After completing a degree in Economics and Geography at the University of Leeds, Amelia joined Futures via the Charity Works Graduate Programme – a not-for-profit graduate scheme that connects recent graduates with charities offering a one-year graduate programme. 

During that year-long placement with Futures, Amelia made such an impression that she was appointed as assistant development officer and she is now fully focused on a career in the housing sector. 

“Before I joined Futures, I hadn’t even considered housing as a career,” Amelia admitted. 

“I wanted to work in the not-for-profit sector but housing wasn’t even on my radar. I would definitely recommend it has a career now though. 

“There are so many aspects to it and the sector is really positive towards graduates. Futures has put trust in me and helped me develop and that’s why I want to continue working in housing.” 

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