Maisie Goodson, our guest blogger and a final year Psychology student talks about our Getting into the Charity Sector event.This semester I attended a wonderful careers event with two amazing and inspiring speakers, all about the charity sector. We had Genesis Trust, a Bath based charity and Wellcome, a global charity come to speak to us, and this blog will be all about working in this sector, how to get into it, and top tips.
The first speaker was Hillary Long, the Community and Events Manager at Genesis Trust. Genesis Trust is a Bath based charity that focuses on transitioning people from crisis to independence. They abide by the commandment ‘to love our neighbour as ourselves’, and they focus on compassion and transforming peoples lives. Genesis has ten projects in three groups: crisis, development and empowerment. For example, soup runs and food banks, developing skills for wellbeing and Home for Good, which promotes fostering and adoption. One of their initiatives is selling donated sofas to low income families at a good price. This provides work experience to those doing up the sofas and selling them on, and develops soft skills. Genesis is a fantastic charity helping thousands of people, last year they served 12,500 meals to rough sleepers and they had 8000 visits to their homeless drop in centre. This centre has showers, computers and Wi-Fi.
Hillary herself spent 11 years in the army after university. She left the army and started a family, and became a carer for her two young children, through which she spent a lot of time fundraising. Hillary started volunteering part time, she wanted to make a difference and to do something meaningful. After volunteering at Genesis 10 hours a week she became the events and community manager. She is responsible for fundraising, awareness raising and event management. She enjoys the diversity of her job, no day is the same. Genesis is a small charity but it has all the jobs you would find in a business, such as finance, HR and project management.
Hillary and her colleagues’ hints and tips include encouraging us to volunteer during university. Whilst you don’t need to make an income by working full time, this is the perfect time to start volunteering. Hillary told us to identify what we would want to get out of working for charity. It doesn’t have to be completely selfish, but you are allowed to want to get something out of working for a charity. Hillary also pointed out that whilst you might have a narrow job in a big organisation for example in finance, your role in finance might be much wider or may form only part of your role when you work for a small company. Additionally, if you are going to work in the charity sector, you still need all the attributes you would take to another job, notably integrity, honesty, dependability, teachability and skills. Finally, Hillary says, you need motivation, and you need to believe in what you are doing. Thank you so much to Hillary for such a wonderful talk, and students please get in touch with Genesis about volunteering opportunities while you’re still at university- here is the website http://genesistrust.org.uk/support-us/volunteering/
The second speaker was Natalie Hannan, the early careers manager from Wellcome. Natalie has worked at Wellcome for three years. She studied English at university and after graduating went into professional services, working in the learning and development team at a law firm. She then moved to graduate recruitment for law firms, and then went on to do the same at Accenture. However, Natalie felt like she was a small part in a massive operation, and wanted to work for an organisation where people can be creative and make an impact. She joined Wellcome soon after!
Wellcome is a politically and financially independent charitable foundation, that wants to improve health by helping great ideas thrive. Wellcome’s funding supports over 14,000 people in more than 70 countries. In the next five years they aim to spend up to five billion helping thousands of curious, passionate people all over the world explore ideas in science, population health, medical innovation, the humanities and sciences and public engagement. One of the worlds biggest challenges is how to be better prepared for the next major epidemic. Wellcome tackle this problem in a number of different ways such as vaccine development (one of their priority areas), public health interventions and behavioural projects. There is also a Wellcome Collection, a free museum and library for the incurably curious. This museum aims to make the connection between medicine, life and art. For more information visit https://wellcomecollection.org/
In terms of graduate schemes, Wellcome offer a Graduate Investment programme where one lucky graduate gets commercial experience with a company Wellcome invests in, learns about financial markets, investment analysis how Wellcome’s long term philosophy generates return to support their work. The other graduate programme is the Graduate Development Programme, which is all about development, as graduates get to try out four different jobs within Wellcome. There are 10 spots and Wellcome want people who want to learn about their skills and what they enjoy through on the job training. Applications are now open! There are also eight week internships available at Wellcome, of which there are 15 different roles available. Natalie’s advice was to focus on what is being asked, make sure you answer the question in your application forms and video interviews. Make sure you are open to developing skills. Finally, Wellcome are looking for people who want to be able to do something and need the programme to get there. For more information visit https://wellcome.ac.uk/jobs
Both speakers were asked what the biggest challenge working in the charity sector is. They both replied that a big challenge is that jobs are not well paid in the charity sector. They say that is a challenge for recruiting and can put people off. Whereas perhaps people at first want to make money, Hillary told us that the charity sector jobs fit with what people want to get out of life, and so they often find that most volunteers or employees join the charity later in life.
Thank you to out wonderful speakers for a great evening, and make sure you check out the charity sector leaflet on myfuture https://bit.ly/2ErLcqO for more advice on how to get into this sector.