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So you want to work in the voluntary sector?
Contributed by Debbie Andalo, The Guardian, UK   
Debbie Andalo looks at career options in the voluntary sector

One in 50 employees in the UK works in the voluntary sector which offers more than 600,000 job opportunities, according to latest figures from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

But despite these statistics, which reflect how popular the not-for-profit sector is as a career destination, it is notoriously difficult to break into. Job vacancies, especially those based overseas in international development or humanitarian work, will often demand experience so it can appear a closed shop to those who want to work for a voluntary organisation.

Charities, and those responsible for its workforce development, are increasingly taking the initiative themselves in creating new routes into employment. Working for a Charity the organisation devoted to meeting the skill needs of the sector, launched its first online training course last year. Called Effective Voluntary Sector Management, it runs for 12 months and is aimed at new recruits, those keen to work for a charity and career changers. Working for a Charity's manager, Elaine Smethurst, says: "We believe the demand is out there for this course. One of its joys is that if we have enough notice we can expand it, as it would only require us recruiting additional online tutors."

The online course, which begins every February, is in addition to three other established face-to-face courses that the organisation runs, which have attracted more than 2,000 students since 1990. The two-evening introductory course offers a brief outline of the sector and job opportunities, while the foundation course provides seven days of seminars and a 20-day charity work placement. The three-day executive programme targets people keen to move into the sector but who have inflexible full-time work commitments.

Read the full article: So you want to work in the voluntary sector?

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