Quality graduate scheme mooted

Acevo and the Prince's Trust are in talks about a scheme to attract high-calibre graduates to the voluntary sector.

They are planning to set up a programme similar to Teach First, which places university graduates with excellent academic credentials in challenging schools, by September 2008. Graduates on the Teach First scheme are required to have a 2:1 degree or above and at least three Bs at A-level.

Charity First, as the scheme is being dubbed, could see participants working in the sector for between two and five years. "This is elitist in the right sense of the word," said Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo. "It's the sort of leadership programme that will help create a more professional voluntary sector."

Acevo and the Prince's Trust are considering various models for the scheme, along with Business in the Community and Teach First. One possibility includes a 'fast-track' scheme that would involve a four- or five-year placement with a clear path for progression.

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