Charity Works internship scheme attracts graduates

Consortium plans to increase placements next year

A graduate recruitment scheme developed by a consortium of charities to encourage high-calibre recruits to the sector will start in September.

The Charity Works scheme will hire graduates fresh out of university to work in charities for a year and develop the skills they will need to work in the sector.

This year the scheme will offer two graduate internships at HIV/Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, one of the five charities involved.

Charity Works expects to increase the number of placements it offers to up to 12 next year, with plans for further expansion thereafter. Successful applicants will receive salaries of about £15,000, in addition to comprehensive management training structured around the demands of each graduate's job.

The scheme has already proved to be popular. Charity Works received more than 1,000 expressions of interest from students this year, and the final two candidates are in the process of being selected.

"It's the first time that a group of charities has worked together to do this," said programme director Rachel Whale. "Individual charities often don't have the presence to appear at graduate recruitment fairs and promote the sector to students as an employer of choice.

"We want to change that. Getting the best people is going to be increasingly important for the sector."

The five charities currently involved in the programme are housing and support charity Advance, mental health charity Together, the RSPCA, the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Children's Society. Whale said she was keen to increase the number of charities participating.

"Charities can join and leave the programme as needed," she said. "The scheme will be funded by the money charities save employing interns rather than filling posts full-time."

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