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AIBU to apply for trustee roles now or to wait till I have more experience?

(13 Posts)
HelloPossums Mon 21-Mar-16 23:46:20

Hi everyone! smile (Sorry in advance for the mammoth post!!)

I graduated from uni last year, and I'm applying for a PGCE now to hopefully start from this September. Since graduating, I've been looking at lots of different ways of getting job experience and also trying out new roles that I didn't get the chance to do at uni.

The areas I've become particularly interested in include school governor roles and trustee positions with charities.

Recently, I applied for a trustee position with an organisation working with young people, which is something that I'd love to get involved in. I had a phone interview for the trustee role last week, and was sent an email earlier letting me know that I'd been unsuccessful but that they'd be happy to recommend me to other charities for similar trustee positions.

My question is whether I might be too inexperienced at the moment for trustee roles (I'm 24, graduated last year and have never served on boards before) or whether I should still continue to apply for these kinds of roles to get the ball rolling and to accumulate experience?

I suppose it's a sort of chicken and egg situation where I don't have experience of serving on boards to get me even further experience, so at the moment I would just like to get some exposure to start me off.

Also, just another quick question smile - does anyone know if charity governance roles (or similar) are valued when it comes to giving people responsibility and management positions in the workplace (obviously in addition to how well people have done in their workplace thus far) or whether it's best for me to put off applying for charity governance roles until I've reachd a senior position in the workplace (ie. many moons from now...! grin)

Thanks everyone!! Hope my post is understandable (I know it rambles on a fair bit!!) wink

HelloPossums Mon 21-Mar-16 23:47:43

Argh sorry emoticons didn't work blush

Crabbitface Mon 21-Mar-16 23:58:46

I think most charities will be looking for people who have experience in a particular field relating to either the specific charity (e.g. alcoholism/drugs, mental health) or in an area of business (e.g. fundraising, human resources, strategic planning).

In Scotland, we have area councils for the voluntary sector (look up GCVS) who could offer advice and signpost any organisations who are looking for directors. I know that in the past they have also offered board member training which covered the basics of charity law, employment law, planning and development. It might be worth finding out if there is something similar local to you.

I would say that any voluntary work is looked upon favourably by employers. Good luck.

BackforGood Tue 22-Mar-16 00:02:35

If you are applying for a PGCE, then I would focus on getting experience in schools. That's where you need to be volunteering. I'm not up to date now but it used to be a requirement that you'd spent at least 2 weeks in school to even apply (??) Even if that's not the case any longer, it's got to give you an advantage. Find a school where you can volunteer on a weekly basis.

Then volunteer on a weekly basis with children in another role.... sports coach or Brownie / Cub Leader or any of the other youth organisations,... or music or drama or whatever your 'niche' is.

I personally would have thought a 'trustee' role is something akin to a managerial position, but the word is used to describe different roles in different organisations so, whereas there's nothing wrong with it, it does seem a bit putting the cart before the horse to me.

Witchend Tue 22-Mar-16 07:06:22

For trustee I would think they want someone who is passionate about the cause the charity is for, not someone who thinks it would be a good experience.
Similar with school governor. Dh has been one and he reckons the people who are most useful are those who are there to get the best for the children.
I suspect either group would not be terribly keen on someone who thought it good experience and planned to drop it (that's an assumption) within a couple of years. They both are roles that require training and I suspect just as you start becoming really useful, having done training etc. You would stop doing it.

HelloPossums Tue 22-Mar-16 15:56:25

Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions smile sorry, I think the way I worded it wasn't very good! Thanks @BackforGood for your ideas about volunteering as well, they all look great. I currently volunteer as an assistant leader for a Brownies unit, and I'm really enjoying the work. Would anyone have any other suggestions of other things that I could get involved in for volunteering experience or just to get more life experience perhaps? Thanks very much again for all of your help!

Also, I know this is a big ask blush I'd be really grateful if anyone currently volunteer volunteering with a board could give a bit of background into their employment and volunteering/charity experience so far? It would be so useful just to get an idea of how to gain more experience.

guinnessguzzler Tue 22-Mar-16 16:36:30

Every organisation will be different as to what they're looking for in their trustees, in part depending on what they already have. You may well have sought after skills that you're not really aware of. As an example, you might have social media skills that many smaller charities would highly value. I've been a trustee of quite a few charities and agree that passion for the cause is important. However, enthusiasm to take on tasks and a willingness to learn will be helpful too. I certainly don't think you are too young and increasingly lots of charities are keen to get younger trustees involved. However, I also agree that it's a bit unfair to take the training and leave once you get your next career move (I don't think you plan to but just in case); you need to make sure you give more than you get.

In answer to your second question, I have found trustee roles have helped me demonstrate key competencies at interview throughout my career, particularly in relation to management and strategy. I'm not sure how well this would apply in teaching though. More importantly, I have learnt huge amounts from these roles and from the people I've met through them and hopefully made a positive difference along the way.

thesandwich Tue 22-Mar-16 16:44:21

Have you looked at the do it website for volunteering roles? Lots of libraries are now using volunteers. Have a look at volunteering via your county council.
Casual work exam invigilator etc?

Spartak Tue 22-Mar-16 17:20:52

I've volunteered with Chernobyl Children's Project a few times. They send volunteers over to Belarus for 2 weeks in the summer.

Jenijena Tue 22-Mar-16 17:23:55

I'm chair of our local scout group. If you could contribute, we'd have you on our exec. not desperate at all

MrsPnut Tue 22-Mar-16 17:24:49

I would look at volunteer roles as opposed to trustee appointments purely because Trustees tend to have to provide strategic management and so are usually experienced in strategy, finance and management.
I sit on a few different boards but I am from an accounting background in a large business.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 22-Mar-16 17:25:21

Have your Brownies got an executive committee? That would be a good place to start. I'm on my local Scout Exec. Committee, it's a minimum one year commitment, not too much training but you learn a lot through the meetings.

Bathsheba Tue 22-Mar-16 18:07:37

Surely the path to go, with any charity, is start as a volunteer/supporter and work your way through the system.

All the charity trustees that I have encountered have been experienced professionals who can contribute something (medical experience, legal experience etc)....

Committed volunteer work will look good enough on your PGCE application...

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