Apprenticeships: a unique opportunity for NGOs to recruit a new generation of exciting and diverse talent
9 February 2021
Yesterday marked the start of National Apprenticeship Week, an opportunity to shine a light on and celebrate the amazing work carried out by apprentices across the country.
It also provides us with an opportunity to highlight the unique and important role that apprenticeships play in society, for both individuals and employers.
When leaving school, young people face a difficult choice about their future, but they are often pushed towards university as the only route to success. University is certainly a great option for some, but it is not a feasible option for everyone. Entry-level jobs are often reserved for those who have these higher education qualifications, and these requirements serve to exacerbate inequality.
Improving diversity in the development sector
As a sector, we have a responsibility to build up a workforce that truly reflects the communities we serve. As representatives of the sector, we should be leading the way in inclusion, diversity, and equality. Apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for NGOs to widen access and reach a new generation of diverse and highly skilled talent, improving diversity across the sector at the same time.
In October 2019, Bond announced its first ever apprenticeship partnership with tech-start up Multiverse to get more young people, particularly from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds, into the UK NGO sector. The partnership has helped get 57 apprentices into the development, and Multiverse has helped almost 200 people secure apprentices in the third sector more broadly.
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, Bond spoke to three inspiring apprentices:
21-year-old Londoner Islam works at Unicef UK on the Business Admin Level 3 apprenticeship. Islam migrated to the UK from Algeria with his parents when he was 3 years old and initially struggled at school, but through incredible hard work and determination secured an unconditional offer to read Law at Durham.
Like many young people, he felt going to university was the only option to getting a good career. But Islam chose to decline this offer.
He applied for an apprenticeship through Multiverse and secured an opportunity to work at Unicef UK.
Islam believes that there is a lot of skepticism amongst young people about apprenticeships. Many believe they are low paid and do not provide adequate training. But his experience at Unicef UK has been the opposite. The apprenticeship has given Islam the opportunity to learn valuable skills that he believes will carry him through his non-profit career.
Christine is a 56-year-old from Market Harborough. She works at World Vision as a programme officer, upskilling through the programme manager apprenticeship.
After working in the private sector for many years, Christine decided she wanted to help improve the lives of children. At the age of 52, she went back to academia and completed a master’s degree in food security. She is now among many colleagues at World Vision who are upskilling through Multiverse apprenticeships.
Her story shows that apprenticeships are not just for young people, and that they’re there to take advantage of, whatever stage of your career you’re in.
Dáre joined Able Child Africa in June 2019, and currently works as their finance and operations executive.
Like many young people who are pressured to pick a degree without thinking about which career path to take, Dáre ended up juggling a biochemistry degree with her passion for volunteering in the charity sector.
She ended up in a job that did not give her the same joy she felt when she volunteered for charities. After years of trying to get into the sector, she secured a position with Able Child Africa. Thanks to the apprenticeship scheme, she has been given the chance to progress further in her career. Dáre is able to apply the skills she learns directly to her work with support from her coach, the community at Multiverse, and her colleagues at Able Child Africa.
The next generation
As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and the inspiring work that has been done by many, let us consider how we can take advantage of the many opportunities that apprenticeships have to offer. Apprenticeships should play a critical role in finding the next generations of diverse, highly-skilled and talented workers.
Find out more about our partnership with Multiverse.