Advice

Fast-Track your way into the Charity Sector: An Interview with Charity Fast-Track Foundation Course

The new Charity Fast-Track Foundation Course is a 12-week part-time online learning programme which is perfect for students and the company are particularly keen to diversify the charity network. I spoke with the Manager Rich Wall to find out more.

Ellen Partington: Why should students, current, prospective or previous, take on the Charity Fast-Track Foundation Course?

Rich Wall: Good question. The course helps students identify skills and apply them to be able to make a meaningful impact on society within the charity sector. Previously, graduates have found this a barrier to working in the charity sector, and therefore the sector has missed out on gaining talented people into the workforce.

The course provides students with foundational knowledge of the roles and workings of the sector and therefore the employment skills to provide them with identifying the right path and establish their career journey. The practical elements of the course allow students to utilise their skills and apply them in the real world to gain experience for their CV.

EP: Do students need to have had any background experience in the charity sector to take on the course?

RW: No not at all the course, taking 12 weeks of online learning, starts at square one and is therefore accessible to anyone and everyone. 4 hours of study time a week are recommended for students to be able to flexible and balance other priorities.

With regards to the course being online and not involving classroom elements, it keeps the costs down, with the charity sector being London centric, the course allows students to learn wherever and is open worldwide. There is an understanding that learning online, students may feel disconnected which is why graduate volunteers are open to share their experiences and engage in discussions to aid students.

In the second week of the course there is a boot camp in the London office where all students get to meet and make connections and network with other students as well as guests and experts on the course to really gain a community.   

EP: With regards to one of the points of your model ‘promote a diverse workforce for diverse social needs’ what are the aims and objectives of this point? And does this also apply to the promotion of equality and inclusivity within the charity sector?

The best social change comes from organisations and communities working in partnership

RW: This is all part of the content of the course and is important within the charity sector, there is even a twitter campaign #charitysowhite. Part of what we teach on the course is the theory of coproduction: the best social change comes from organisations and communities working in partnership to make decisions and share power. One of the best ways to achieve that is by making sure that our sector is staffed by people from all walks of life.

EP: What are the greatest challenges students will face on the Charity Fast-Track Foundation Course?

RW: Good question. There are a good set of exciting challenges on the course. The course takes students out of the standard settings of education, and places them in modules gaining professional competencies, skills and behaviours. The aim of the course is to bridge the gap between students in the classroom and learning online and working in the charity sector.

Students should be wary of the misconceptions of charities; they do hold the same high standards and expectations as any other employer or sector.

EP: What are the greatest benefits students will gain from completing and engaging in the Charity Fast-Track Foundation Course?

RW: The fundraising section of the course is a highlight, with the help of the subsidising from child.org, and students turn out to gain great enjoyment out of the experience. The course helps students ‘find their why’ in the place of their career, leading students to feel part of a network and community while taking the course.

This creates meaningful and impactful careers with the help of graduates sharing their experiences to engage the next up-and-coming generation.

EP: With your impressive range of curators specifically of non-profit charities, do you believe the course and charity careers within the social sector are particularly relevant in today’s contemporary society, maybe now more than ever, particularly in local communities for social impact and ‘the business of charity’?

RW: Yes, the charity sector is needed more now than ever in these historically challenging times. Charities are in need in help to become more progressive, with a specific business need for a workforce with the correct skillset and skilled and bright minds.

EP: Is there any particular, or potentially unknown, part of the charity sector you can see changing and innovating to create a greater impact on as well as in society currently as well as in the future?

RW: The charity sector needs to do better in terms of digital skills, with reference to big data and the management of this and adapting and innovating with the modernisation of society.

The course helps provide the skillset for organisations with the understanding of the enterprising role of charities

The course helps provide the skillset for organisations with the understanding of the enterprising role of charities. This means financing the way charities run for sustainability purposes now and in the future which is key. The course, as well as the sector, is founded on people skills with regards to helping vulnerable people with the aid of few resources and a key skill which is changing the sector is the ability to empathise with people to empower others.

EP: In the future, do you see your curators changing, potentially engaging with more local charities and some profit charities as well as ones with more established and worldwide influence and connections?

RW: The curators are a founding part of the content of the course, representing the broad service of the massive and diverse sector that charity is. Small charities run by only a few people are just as important as multinational corporations.

The course provides students with a smaller and local broader skillset which can be applied when working for any charity, with particular reference to smaller charities where an adaptable skillset is essential when having to take on not just one role.

EP: What courses are you potentially looking to implement currently and in the future?

RW: The Charity Fast Track Foundation Course is the core offer at the moment. We are looking into Funded Apprenticeships in the future. We want to create the opportunities through government funded apprenticeships for the sector to invest in staff.

EP: Thank you for your time Rich, is there anything else you would like to add?

RW: Yes. Our team are very open so any students with any questions or queries at all please do get in touch.

For further information, follow these links: https://charityfasttrack.uk and https://charityfasttrack.uk/course/12-week-foundation-course/

Ellen Partington

Featured image and in article images courtesy of Honey Mckenna from Charity Fast-Track. No changes were made to this image. 

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