The voluntary sector will be even stronger and more inclusive if it is Open To All.
Getting a degree has become very expensive – too expensive for many young people to consider, especially when it may not increase their chances of finding a good job.
We believe the voluntary sector should be as open and accessible as possible to
people with the passion and skill to contribute – whether they can afford to do a
degree or not.
There are thousands of people already working in our sector who don’t have
degrees and are great at their jobs, including Finance Directors, Campaign
Managers and Chief Executives.
The Open To All campaign encourages all charities to look at their job descriptions, person specifications and recruitment adverts and check whether they really need to require a ‘degree or equivalent’ for some of their roles.*
Over half of the people we asked admitted they didn’t really know what
‘degree or equivalent’ means in recruitment material, unless it’s stipulated
very clearly. And a third said they’d been put off applying for a charity job
because they didn’t have a degree.
This is a priority for the children’s voluntary sector
We don’t want to exclude talented people from the voluntary sector – especially not young people who face so many barriers to finding work, earning a decent wage and becoming independent. We also recognise that this is especially important in social care, where staff may be on lower wages than public or private sector staff and debt is therefore even more of a burden to take on.
It’s not just about ditching the degree
Although our recruitment copy might stop mentioning degrees, we can go further to support young people who don’t feel they have an obvious alternative route into a charity job. This could include encouraging applications from ex-service users; giving examples of voluntary work that qualifies someone for the role; and being clear that we don’t expect applicants to be ‘finished products’ – that we’re looking for a core set of skills and attitudes, and will provide training and development opportunities so staff can grow into the role.
We’d be delighted to share any good practice your organisation has, for example in
- promoting job opportunities to school and college leavers
- measuring candidates’ skills without reference to a degree
- providing traineeships and other routes into employment ensuring the children and families you work with are supported by the best workforce possible.
Why pledge to be Open To All?
“The Edge Foundation champions technical, practical and vocational education,
which we believe should be valued equally with academic forms of learning. People learn in different ways at different times of their lives and careers. Learning by doing has a huge part to play in people’s lives – it’s high time we recognised its importance to people, communities and employers.”
Fair Train supports Open To All: “The Open To All campaign highlights the need for more forms of work experience and vocational training in charities, which is beneficial not only to the young person but also to the employer as an effective recruitment tool.”
Children and Families Across Borders pledges to be Open To All: “We work to support children who have been separated across borders from their families, providing expert inter-country social work advice and case management services. Last year, we helped the resolution of cases involving 132 countries. This pledge is important as, in line with the philosophy underpinning social work itself, CFAB believes in equality of opportunity and seeking to end prejudice, discrimination and disadvantage. Requiring applicants to have degrees where these are not necessary inevitably reinforces privilege and prejudice.”
Salford CVS pledges to be Open To All: “Salford CVS is the local infrastructure support organisation for Salford’s VCSE sector. This pledge is important as it helps reinforce that the principles of equality and accessibility should take centre stage in all that we do.”
*There are, of course, plenty of roles in all sectors where certain qualifications are essential, such as social work, medicine or accounting. Open To All doesn’t aim to change recruitment practice for these more specialised jobs.