Masood is a senior programme manager for a community organisation based in Birmingham. He graduated from Birmingham City University with a BA in Sociology in 2008.
I went to university as a mature student and didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I got involved with a local project on a voluntary basis, which got bigger and began to take up more of my time. This is what led to my current job. I do feel the concepts of my course were useful but to be honest, it was more the skills I developed - report writing, time management, etc. that were most useful for my job.
I manage a series of projects that tackle the issues faced by the local community. I write bids to secure funding and that often means getting into partnerships with other projects in other countries. One recent part of my job has been developing links with Turkish groups. I act as a mentor to young men who are at risk of drifting into crime. Often they have had cautions for joyriding. I manage a small team and run events to embed the project into the heart of the community. I report to a board of trustees so I have to justify what actions have been taken. The role has grown and I would like to continue to expand it further. If I moved on from this post I would want to do something similar.
My previous job was working as a manager and I enjoyed it but I now feel like I am making a real contribution to my community. Seeing people turn their life around is a real joy. That could be getting someone into work or getting them to eat more healthily. The project is involved with NHS campaigns and as it is a predominately Asian community there are certain health issues that are prevalent and we try to tackle these.
I work for a community interest company so it is driven by the community and their needs - I have to respond to their requirements and there are times when people want more than is possible - I need to manage their expectations without stifling them. I also need to be focused and know what and where the boundaries are. You get what you put into it. I have a real passion for the community and the response I get means there is a lot of job satisfaction. I enjoy the variety of the work.
If you want to get into a job like mine I would say that work experience is important when there is so much competition for jobs. Know what you want to do and be prepared to keep learning. Writing bids is just one of the ways my job has developed and I think it's something that in this sector we will see more and more of. As a job it isn't fantastically well paid but it is extremely rewarding.
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