Did you know there are around 160,000 general charities in the UK?
With a combined annual income of over £37bn and employing approximately 800,000 workers (an increase of 41 per cent since 2002), the third sector has enjoyed a remarkable upsurge in the last 10 years.
Indeed, some charities have turnovers exceeding that of major companies, with Cancer Research UK’s voluntary income totalling a whopping £362,756,000, while Arts Council England’s voluntary income topped £450m. Given these figures, it’s hardly surprising the UK’s biggest charities (and some of the smaller ones) require a flock of assiduous full-time employees to make sure their respective visions are delivered in a timely and effective manner.
So how can you get involved?
Volunteer Your Time
Before you jump feet first into a full-time role in the voluntary sector, it’s a good idea to contact your local volunteer centre to make sure this is a career path you definitely want to tread. After all, leaving your current role behind without an understanding of what’s involved is likely to end badly.
Consequently, whether it’s helping out at a local children’s club or care home, figure out how much time you can devote and what area you’re interested in. The result? Charities and organisations benefit from your time and you gain valuable experience on the road to a new career.
Choose Your Area
If you’re still swithering over a career change to the third sector, it’s crucial to note the wide variety of areas you can specialise in. While 57 per cent of the sector’s employees are engaged in health and social work, you could go into several other areas.
Whatever area you choose, whether it’s community development, research or volunteer management, it’s important to possess a wide variety of skills and be flexible in nature, as there may be times when you’re needed in other areas of the organisation.
Boost Your Qualifications
If you’re already involved in the third sector and fancy enhancing your existing qualifications, it’s often worthwhile enrolling for a university qualification that’ll furnish you with the management and leadership skills you need to drive your organisation forwards.
With a Charity Management Course, for instance, you’ll fit your education around your work by studying part-time over two years – perfect for employees, volunteers or the trustee of a charity, social enterprise or co-operative.
Over to you …
Are you involved in the third sector and keen to encourage others to follow suit? Perhaps you’re worried about leaving your current role behind in favour of a position with a charity? Whatever your situation, please let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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