The looming sense of finishing university and not having a job lined up is a big one and one which many companies are quick to cash in on. The promotion of taster days in order to better obtain an internship and the promotion of internships to get a better chance of obtaining a graduate job is a cycle that I am all too familiar with as a 4th-year student. It starts as soon as you arrive at university and the companies that tend to succeed and have a large campus presence are, unsurprisingly, those with large funds. This means companies such as PWC, Deloitte, RBS, Lidl and many others are high on the agenda for students. I am sure you have seen events hosted, flyers given out and even have a couple of pens or post-it notes lying around.
How then are the Third Sector meant to compete and attract students down a different path? It seems the way to compete with the private sector’s strategy is a question of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ and the opportunities out there are incredible.
One of the biggest charities to make headway with student recruitment and campus involvement was Teach First. Since the charity started in 2012 with 11 employees, it now attracts over 10,000 students each year to undertake the graduate programme to become a teacher. Frontline, a charity that recruits aspiring students to become children’s social workers, are relatively new to the scene (5 years) and are making an incredible inroad in showing that social work is a rewarding career available to students. They are doing so by providing students with incredible opportunities, much like the private companies, but with a focus on society and social progress. Their statement that 6% of care leavers go to university, compared to approximately 40% of all young people has been one that has driven me to act. We are in that 40% and I think that what Frontline is doing, in enabling students to help vulnerable families and children, and the ability to be visible on campus is refreshing and needed.
From a leadership development programme to a summer internship and insight days, they have something relevant for all years to get involved with. Their leadership development programme is a 2-year scheme where you earn while obtaining a fully funded masters and on the job experience. The internship is for 4 weeks and is a brilliant chance to delve into the work Frontline does and gain valuable experience.
I may be biased in my view of Frontline, as I work with them, but I believe seeing what goes on first hand has highlighted how charities are adapting to the graduate market and how well they are succeeding.