Earlier this week I wrote a post inspired by a conversation I had with a smart, thoughtful twenty something who told me that getting a job in a charity meant “earning nothing and learning nothing”. I wrote about how bad the charity sector can be at attracting great people, recognizing their ambition and pushing them to learn fast and think big. And I argued that it’s imperative that we train and develop budding social innovators with the same rigour as we do our doctors, engineers and architects.
I believe all that – but there’s also a good news story to be told.
Things have changed since I left university over a decade ago and there are now many more opportunities for people who are ambitious about social change to develop their careers and get stuck in.
Over the past few years, we’ve been forging relationships with grad schemes, courses, leadership programmes and social impact platforms that share our values. These are our Talent Development Partners.
The obvious shift has been the proliferation of public service graduate schemes. Following in the footsteps of Teach First (which recruited 183 teachers in the year of my graduation but now recruits over 1500 per year), we’ve seen new grad schemes pop up in social work, policing and criminal justice. Take a look at our partners Frontline, Think Ahead and Police Now. The Fast Stream has been around for a long time but its latest incarnation – with secondments, frontline operational roles and placements outside Whitehall – is brilliant. Plus you can now defer entry to the scheme to become a Year Here Fellow, if you are accepted to both.
Opportunities to try your hand at social entrepreneurship have also exploded in the past few years. We’ve taken on Fellows who’ve been involved in the Enactus UK alumni community, ICS-Entrepreneur and Balloon Ventures.
These days there are bags of opportunities to get stuck in to meaningful social action from a young age too. With the advent of the National Citizen Service, pioneered by The Challenge Network (whose staffing team is another one of our talent development partners), I co-founded a new body to promote social action among young people: Generation Change. I’m particularly interested in how social action can play a part in developing the next generation of leaders so I’m really excited to be working with UpRising and One Young World too.
For those in the private sector, Beyond Me provide brilliant opportunities for young professionals (like our very own Sneh Jani who is a Beyond Me member) to contribute their skills to small charities and On Purpose have created a bridge for experienced professionals, mostly from corporates, to start a purpose-led career.
There is undoubtedly lots more we can do to help talented people learn the tools of the social impact trade quickly and give them the confidence to build businesses, charities and campaigns that make a serious difference.
But, there is good reason to be very optimistic about the future.
Balloon Ventures – a volunteer scheme supporting small businesses in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and the Philippines.
Beyond Me – a platform that matches teams of professionals with charity projects in need of their skills, time and money.
The Challenge Staffing – the staffing team of The Challenge, one of the providers of the National Citizen Service, offering short term paid work working with young people.
The Civil Service Fast Stream – the UK Government’s graduate fast track programme
Enactus UK Alumni – a community of graduated Enactus students who want to make a difference through entrepreneurial action.
Frontline – two year graduate scheme in children’s social work
Generation Change – a partnership of youth social action organisations.
ICS-Entrepreneur – a scheme that places volunteers with entrepreneurs in the developing world.
On Purpose – a one-year work placement programme for those looking to find a career in social enterprise.
One Young World – a charity that gathers together the brightest young leaders from around the world at an annual summit.
Police Now – two year graduate leadership programme in community policing
Teach First – a two year leadership development programme that places top graduates in schools in poor areas.
Think Ahead – two year graduate scheme in mental health social work
UpRising – A part time leadership development programme aiming to open pathways to power for talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds.