I graduated with a 2:1 in English and History from the University of York in July 2016. I work for Age UK Oxfordshire and am a part of the Worthwhile Graduate Programme 2016-17. Age UK Oxfordshire is the local branch of the national older people’s charity, Age UK, and has linked up with the graduate programme, Worthwhile, which helps and supports young people get into the third sector. Worthwhile provides 18 days of training throughout the year and support as and when you need it.
My job role is ‘Media and Communications’ with a bit of fundraising thrown in. I am responsible for updating the content of our website and social media, I write our quarterly newsletter, I also run our campaigns such as ‘The Big Knit’ and ‘The Dignity in Care Awards’. In between these lager roles I keep in touch with local media outlets to promote the services we offer to older people in the community.
I became very interested in the third sector during my second year at York but realised I didn’t have much experience that would appeal to non-profit organisations so, during my second and third year, I volunteered for two local charities and got involved with more committees and societies to broaden my skills. I did this by contacting these local charities directly however the Careers centre also has links with several charities across York that students can get involved with.
Around January 2016 I started doing what I liked to call ‘productive procrastinating’ – when I should have been writing essays and reading course books I was searching online for jobs. I spent a lot of time visiting the York careers service where the staff there read over my applications and ran through practice interviews with me, which I found helped a lot. I applied to a lot of different places and didn’t get many responses so, if anyone has found similar, I would say don’t be disheartened – it is quite normal and doesn’t mean you are never going to get a job.
I applied to the Worthwhile graduate programme and was invited to an interview in June. However, at the same time I was also receiving the Worthwhile newsletter, which advertised positions in the charity sector, one of which was my current job. I interviewed for Age UK Oxfordshire (over Skype!) and was offered the job.
Moving from York to Oxford I was given a lot of support from the Worthwhile team who offered advice when needed and even put me in touch with other ‘Worthwhile grads’ in the city who could tell me more about the programme.
I found the transition from university life to work very tiring! But, I do love having the weekends off which you don’t really have at university – not without a crippling sense of guilt…
All in all I am enjoying my role at Age UK Oxfordshire and the graduate scheme that supports me. I would definitely recommend the Worthwhile Graduate Programme to anyone who is interested in getting a job in the charity sector and am happy to be contacted if anyone has any questions.
Applications to the programme are now open to final year students and graduates. Head to the website to find out more and apply.
If you have a question for Vibeke about the Worthwhile Graduate Programme or working for Age UK, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org