Focus: People Management - Charities to target potential graduates

Graham Willgoss, graham.willgoss@haynet.com

MRF and Oxfam among groups that will advise young people on careers.

The Meningitis Research Foundation is to advise young people on careers in the voluntary sector as part of an initiative designed to encourage school-leavers to go to university.

The charity is supporting a series of 10 free information days, each of which will bring 1,000 year 12 students face to face with representatives of employers and universities. The advice available to the youngsters will be on topics that range from interview technique and the application process to the potential career paths open to graduates.

The information days are run by Target 10,000, an independent campaign that aims to provide information and advice on higher education and careers to 10,000 young people each year and, by doing so, raise their aspirations.

Each event invites year 12 students to meet and talk to undergraduates about what life is like for university students. Employers represented at the event will include the MRF and Oxfam, as well as organisations from outside the voluntary sector, such as lawyers Allen & Overy and investment bankers Goldman Sachs.

The MRF will talk to students about employment opportunities at the charity and what it is like to work in the voluntary sector.

"It's an opportunity to get more students interested in following a career in the voluntary sector after they graduate," said Ian Beningfield, community fundraising officer at the foundation. "There will be presentations from people with different career backgrounds - we're there to talk about how students should go about getting jobs with charities and which skills are transferable to careers in the sector."

Beningfield will talk about his current position, what life is like for him in the sector and his own experience of moving from student life to working for a charity. Although the foundation does not run a graduate scheme, it does employ graduates at entry-level positions within the organisation.

"We want to make people aware that they can go out and find a position that suits them," he says. "But we're not there just to talk about fundraising. A whole range of careers is available to graduates within the sector, from marketing to finance to PR."

The foundation will also use the information days as an opportunity to raise awareness of meningitis. It begins at the London School of Economics on 17 June and will cover Newcastle, Leicester, Manchester, Sussex and Exeter before finishing in Leeds on 15 July.

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