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Landing that first job after uni isn't always easy. You're still learning about the job market, and more importantly, you're still figuring out exactly what you want to do.

But what if you want to work in a specialized industry like not-for-profit? How do you get your foot in the door with so many candidates struggling to break into the sector?

Our advice? Internships and graduate schemes are the best routes forward — they give you a leg up in an otherwise crowded and competitive job market. And with more and more organizations demanding applicants have some form of experience, programs that help catapult you into a full-time career can really make a difference.


First, we need to understand the sector's limitations

Not surprisingly, the charity sector is a popular industry to work in. Although the salaries may not be quite as high as the for-profit sector, the fulfillment factor means you'll be spending every day doing work you're passionate about.

That being said, charities and not-for-profits rely entirely on donor and government funding, and that money needs to be spent wisely (and sparingly) to ensure the majority is going towards the cause. That's why graduate schemes and paid internships can be quite rare, and you're likely to go up against lots of other passionate graduates looking to benefit from the same opportunities. You'll typically need a 2: 1 undergraduate degree and a certain number of UCAS points to be eligible.

But if you're really serious about working in the sector, and have a clear passion to make a difference, there's no reason not to put the work in and apply. Who knows, it can completely change your career path!

Not sure what charity graduate schemes are right for you? Let's take a look at some of our favorites.


1. Charityworks

Probably the most wide-spread training scheme in the sector, Charityworks provides graduates the chance to work full-time in a partner charity (ie Age UK or the NSPCC) for 12 months. You'll be placed in a charity that matches your skills and interests, and paired with an experienced mentor who will make sure you're making the most of your time in the program. Your role can vary based on the nature of your placement, but ultimately the aim is to find a job that really speaks to you. This is the best option if you're looking for a large charity.

Just a few key stats about the scheme:

  • Salary: £ 18,300 UK-wide, £ 21,300 for London-based placements (based on the 2019 program)
  • Hours: Usually 9-to-5 with some flexibility depending on the placement and organization
  • Types of roles: Customer-facing, business development, fundraising, communications, campaigns, human resources, internal communications, research and policy, technology, finance


2. Worthwhile

Working primarily with small, socially impactful organizations, the Worthwhile Graduate Scheme creates a clear path into entry-level and junior manager jobs in UK charities and social enterprises. Their aim is to help young professionals take those first steps into a social impact role.

As part of this scheme, you'll benefit from 17 days of training and 9 to 12 months of specialist knowledge on what it means to work in the charity sector. As part of this, you'll learn how to develop the important soft skills you'll use every day when working directly with beneficiaries and people in need.

Just a few key stats about the scheme:

  • Salary: You'll be paid the Living Wage Foundation rate, but some organizations may pay slightly more. The top end of salaries is around £ 25,000.
  • Hours: Generally 9-to-5, but depends on the organization
  • Types of roles: Customer-facing, project management, communications, business development, sales, fundraising, research and analysis 


Meeting with high five

Schemes directly through a charity

Of course, there are always specialized schemes and internships available through charities themselves . But as these are few and far between, there may be quite a bit of competition and you'll have to put the time and effort into the application to really stand out.

Here are a few charities with internship and graduate schemes you might be interested in working in:

Ready to get out there and start making a difference? Not only will schemes like these allow you to learn what job you want to pursue, but they'll give you the chance to make a real impact in the world. And what's better than spending every day inspiring meaningful change?

This content was provided by  CharityJob , the largest and most specialized job board for the charity and not-for-profit sector in the UK.

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