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Apprenticeships for Not for Profits – UK Plan

Wednesday, 22nd September 2010 at 1:50 pm
Staff Reporter
A UK training-based charity, Skills-Third Sector, is developing apprenticeships to encourage young people into the Not for Profit sector.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2010
at 1:50 pm
Staff Reporter



Apprenticeships for Not for Profits – UK Plan
Wednesday, 22nd September 2010 at 1:50 pm

A UK training-based charity, Skills-Third Sector, is developing apprenticeships to encourage young people into the Not for Profit sector and to give them practical on-the-job training.

Skills-Third Sector says that in the UK there have been a number of apprenticeships that charities and social enterprises could choose to train young people in, but none that focused specifically on the core jobs in the voluntary sector.

The organisation describes the voluntary sector as charities, social enterprises, community and voluntary organisations or as we call it in Australia the Not for Profit sector.

Following consultation earlier this year with UK NFP employers, volunteers and with young people, Skills-Third Sector is writing four new frameworks that describe what a young person should learn while following an apprenticeship.

These will provide on-the-job training in the roles of campaigning; fundraising; managing volunteers; and development. These frameworks will be registered with the UK National Apprenticeships Service and eligible for government funding once they are available, which is likely to be in the summer/autumn of 2011.

According to Skills-Third Sector policy support officer, James McHugh, the voluntary sector has been lagging behind other sectors in the take up of apprenticeships and, thus, has been losing out on the benefits including increased motivation, greater retention of staff, increased productivity and training which meets national occupational standards, for too long. This is sentiment also felt in Australia.

The latest figure puts UK apprenticeships in the sector at 4.7% in 2007, The organisation says this is low and is likely to only reflect the big employers so is also misleading in terms of the spread of apprentices across the whole sector.

Skills-Third Sector says the number of people employed in the UK voluntary sector is growing. There are one million paid staff employed in voluntary and community groups and social enterprises and 20.4million volunteers.

James McHugh says evidence suggests that although people who work and volunteer in the voluntary sector are generally well-qualified, they can lack basic or specialist skills and workplace experience.

In a policy statement, McHugh says apprenticeships offer the voluntary sector a great opportunity to address these shortcomings and, crucially, there is funding available to do so. Voluntary sector organisations can develop the skills and experience of employees through using either pre-existing apprenticeship frameworks (descriptions of what an apprentice should learn while training) or through the voluntary sector specific framework/s that are being created at the moment.

Skills –Third Sector says its own research has identified a number of reasons for there being a low take up of apprenticeships in our sector.

These are:

  • lack of awareness/history of taking on apprentices; and
  • gaps in provision of suitable apprenticeships for the sector.

Currently, it is developing four new apprenticeship frameworks:

  • fundraising
  • campaigning
  • managing volunteers
  • development

The Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) says the Australia scene also has little training support/schemes for the Not for Profit sector.

FIA CEO Chris McMillan says for example, the NTIS (National Training Information Service) has so few training packages which link to the sector.

She says the Community Services Training Package which contains the Certificate in Active Volunteering is one of the few which is designed to meet the sectors needs.

She says if there were more available, certainly either as training package development and or as traineeships for the sector, it may well encourage young people to venture into the sector and consider careers in fundraising.

To download the current policy paper on UK apprenticeships for the voluntary sector go to

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