Drive to recruit university graduates

Brokerage service mooted

The National Union of Students is working with sector umbrella bodies the NCVO and Acevo, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to boost the number of graduates working in the voluntary sector.

The establishment of a brokerage service to promote job, internship or volunteering opportunities to university students is one idea currently under discussion.

The NUS is drawing up a list of proposals and hopes a new strategy will be agreed by the end of the summer.

Matt Hyde, chief executive of the NUS, said more than 1,000 students were trustees of student unions across the UK. Many of them, he said, had worked with their union for the best part of three years and had received intensive trustee training. They would be well-placed for careers in the voluntary sector, he said.

"There is scope for the third sector to attract talented graduates and student leaders via internships or career opportunities," said Hyde. "Many organisations do not know what they are missing out on."

The initiative comes as student unions prepare to register as charities with the Charity Commission from November. An earlier dispute between student unions and universities over whether they were separate legal entities was resolved.

Some universities argued that the 220 student unions could not register as independent charities because they were not separate legal entities, but a QC told the NUS this was not correct.

Hyde said the NUS had been working with the commission to ensure a smooth registration process.

"The registration requirements could benefit unions," he said. "There may be more of an administrative burden, but there are lots of positives - not least the new funding streams that will open up once unions are officially registered as charities."

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