Make Charity Work For You… Get a Career in the Fast Lane
Thursday, June 28, 2007.
By the Editors
Students and graduates are being urged to consider a career working for a charity and take the opportunity to gain well trained and well paid employment in a sector that is too often dismissed as a poorly paid option, or misperceived as a sector that does not offer paid employment opportunities at all.
The charity sector, often referred to as the third sector, is growing at a rapid rate, with the British Government investing a serious amount of interest in the role that it plays and it increasingly being at the centre of political discussion and debate.
Working For A Charity, part of the UK Workforce Hub which promotes the third sector as a positive career option, is alerting students that a career working for a charity offers real opportunities for personal and professional development and learning new skills. Its careers guide Working for a better world gives advice on how to get a job in a charity, with features on a number of the different careers available and real life examples of young people working for charities.
The guide is available in all student and university career libraries. UK Students can also visit Myspace and Facebook to check their - "We ♥ working for a charity group" and join in the debate.
Recent research found that young people perceive the typical charity employee as old, female and white. But charities say that they want to
change students' perceptions and let them know that this stereotypical view of charities being run by the blue rinse brigade is outdated.
They point out that charities are not places where people go to work for an easy life - they are dynamic organisations which attract high calibre employees. Charities are good employers and recognise the importance of a healthy work-life balance and often accommodate this with excellent holidays and flexible working hours.
Elaine Smethurst, Manager of Working For A Charity, said:
“We are urging students to be aware that a career in a charity is a worthwhile, well paid and rewarding career option. Charities are dynamic and exciting places to work and offer a wide range of jobs – from campaigning to fundraising or managing a children’s centre to giving advice on substance misuse.”
Phil Gilmore, 26, is a Fundraiser for CARE:
Phil has a degree in Sports Science and no specific qualifications, however he wanted to do event management and CARE offered him the opportunity.
In his role every day is different. He is currently juggling several grant applications, as well as planning a Motown themed dinner dance at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester, and a celebrity Golf Day in Newcastle in September.
Phil says that to work as a fundraiser you have to be open to change and a fast moving environment! Enthusiasm and a belief and understanding of your charities cause are critical. He says that seeing people benefit from the funds he raises is where the buzz and the memories come from.
His advice is not to be put off if your qualifications are either in a different field or not what is required. Charities need enthusiastic out going people and this will come across at interview. It is possible to achieve what you want to achieve whilst working for a charity!
Louise Herring, 30, International Trade Coordinator, Comic Relief.
Louise moved to the not-for-profit sector after working for Accenture as a management consultant in retail strategy. She left to do a Masters in development and returned to Accenture to work in their Corporate Social Responsibility department. Then through a contact she went to work in Kenya with an NGO for 9 months.
She has since worked for a variety of NGOs as a consultant in the US, South Africa and the UK. More recently she worked full-time for Marie Stopes International, including a three month stint in Uganda and Tanzania.
Louise is currently working for Comic Relief in a role which combines her private sector and not-for-profit experience, working on trade and corporate engagement. Her advice is to learn as much as possible about the variety of roles available in the charity sector and be prepared to volunteer in order to understand whether a particular sector or a particular size of organisation suits you. She also suggests making as many contacts as possible in the sector and never missing an opportunity to network, formally or informally.
Ed Pomfret, 28, Head of Campaigns at the Woodland Trust:
Ed leads on the Woodland Trust‘s campaigning work on issues such as planning, transport and fighting causes of woods under threat. He did a degree in politics and sociology and was able to put his degree into practice when he discovered that there were jobs in environmental campaigning.
He says that to get a job in a charity you need to be passionate about the cause and never under estimate yourself. If you see something that appeals to you – go for it even if you do not have the experience – there is always the chance that someone will see your potential.
The UK Workforce Hub aims to lead and facilitate action that makes it easier for voluntary and community organisations to: be great places to work; be better employers; and embrace a culture of learning and development. It also promotes the sector as a positive career choice.
* The hub is hosted and managed by The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, NCVO, in England, and by its sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
* The UK Workforce Hub provides information, resources and signposting to:
1. Encourage more people to come and work or volunteer in the sector
2. Ensure people in the sector can develop the skills they need to do
their jobs well
3. Encourage and support organisations to be better employers
4. Enable people to develop leadership and management skills.
For more information, visit www.ukworkforcehub.org.uk or phone 0800 652 5737.
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