If you want to drive change and rewarding achievements that prioritise ethics over profits, working in this fulfilling sector might be the one for you. Bright Network brings you the best social enterprise and charity graduate schemes in the sector, how to apply, what skills employers look for and what you can expect.
Mental health charity, Think Ahead, aims to create a society where people with mental health issues can flourish, not wither. Their work helps strengthen mental health services and train social workers to a high standard. Think Ahead offers an extremely competitive paid two-year graduate programme including first-hand learning and training in an NHS Trust or Local Authority and a Masters degree after completing your second year. They look for people with leadership skills, self-awareness, verbal communication skills and problem-solving skills. Mostly, you'll need a passion for improving the lives of people with mental illnesses.
Teach First's vision is of a society where no child’s educational achievement is restricted by income. The charity has worked for the last 12 years to help play a part in altering the lives of thousands of young people. Their two-year graduate programme offers you the chance to step up to real responsibility and make a direct impact to change lives in society. You will receive intense training which will lead to a PGCE qualification and you will have the opportunity to do an MA. Teach First’s values to include; collaboration, commitment, excellence, integrity and leadership. In their application process, they look for candidates who possess problem-solving skills, can self-evaluate, strong organisation and planning skills and someone who has a positive mindset or outlook no matter what is thrown their way.
Charity Police Now recruit, train and attract graduates with leadership potential to become inspirational police officers or detectives who will have a positive lasting impact on communities. Their National Graduate Leadership Programme runs for two-years, developing graduates into neighbouring police officers with the best core policing, leadership and problem-solving skills used for entire careers. During the programme, you are placed in communities challenged by crime where you’ll learn how to professionally tackle any situation that comes your way. By the end of the two years, you’ll earn a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice, perfect for those who look to stay in the field (80% of them do!). They look for graduates with problem-solving ability, clear communication skills, empathy and decision-making skills. Are you the next generation of police?
They believe in growing leadership talent in the non-profit sector. The Charity Works one-year trainee programme is suited for those with minimal qualifications and graduates from any discipline. You’ll build experience in the sector by taking part in job placement in an organisation such as AgeUK or NSPCC, or local housing associations like Poplar HARCA. You could be taking on real jobs, from delivering front line services to working on research and strategy. You’ll also match with a mentor to help you make the most of your year in training and you’ll have the option to take part in independent research for a project. They look for candidates who can use IT software like Microsoft Office, someone who can communicate clearly, build long-term relationships, innovative skills and someone who can adapt to changing work environments.
British Red Cross
Not all companies look for degree qualifications, others focus on your experience and passion for the industry. Before applying to social enterprise and charity apprenticeships, it will be beneficial to gain some voluntary experience at a leading charity. British Red Cross offers voluntary experience working in their shops across the UK or working with children. Doing this, you’ll learn how to support your community while gaining valuable transferable skills that will be useful for any role you choose to go into. To take part in voluntary work experience, British Red Cross looks for people who may have cashiers or customer service experience, someone with interpersonal and good decision-making skills. But, they are often more focused on your attributes, like driving to work and passion for the sector or charity.
What attributes do social enterprise and charity employers look for?
- Quick learner
- Good commercial understanding
- Ability to use your initiative
- Passion about the sector/appreciation of what the company does
- Commitment to the organisation
When can I apply? And is there a typical application process?
The majority of social enterprise and charity graduate schemes are available on a rolling deadline, but be sure to apply as soon as possible to ensure you get your place. Some schemes ask you to choose your prefered work location, so apply early to make sure you get your first choice.
Social enterprise and charity graduate scheme application process may include the following:
- Online application
- Assessment centre - including individual or group tasks to see how you would handle specific situations related to the organisation
- Face-to-face interview
- Virtual interview
What graduate social enterprise and charity opportunities am I eligible for?
To apply for social enterprise and charity graduate schemes, employers expect you to have achieved or be working towards a minimum 2.2 degree - this could be in business studies, voluntary sector management, marketing and community studies. Others may look for a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma in a range of disciplines like community development, public relations and social policy or administration.
For apprenticeships and trainee schemes, you’ll need a minimum of 4 GCSEs (Grade C / 4 or above), especially in mathematics and English. But, charities always look for at least one experience that demonstrates your commitment to a social change - this could be at a charity shop or care responsibilities.
These opportunities are extremely sought after and offer a fantastic stepping stone into a full time career within the charity sector. Make sure you get your application in early and get on track to achieving your preferred career path. It will be sure to be and adventure - packed full of learning, challenges quite different to any other job and it offers the chance to work in a job where you will feel rewarded. Make a difference.
Discover the latest social enterprise and charity opportunities by browsing graduate jobs today to start making a difference.