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There are over 150,000 not-for-profit and aid organisations currently registered in the UK, employing half a million people, meaning career opportunities for all ages, and generating around £2 billion per year.
Some small charities work with local communities and institutions, such as schools, hospitals and community centres; others have far-reaching global presence and work on numerous projects at once.
Either way, they all rely on the help of volunteers, paid professionals, specialised workers and regular donations to provide care and support to people experiencing hardships, both at home and abroad.
The Third Sector refers to a separate economic entity which exists distinctly and independently from the private and public sectors – commercial businesses and the government respectively.
This sector, also known as the Civil, Community or Volunteer Sector, encompasses charities, not-for-profit associations, cooperatives, religious charities and social enterprises.
Although charities are generally independent from the government and corporations, they structure their workforce and marketing activities similarly to the way a business would do.
Working in social care means that you can gain an enormous sense of personal achievement from knowing that your job is helping people. Social care is about making a positive difference to people's lives, by positively contributing to their health, happiness and well-being.
The scope of work a person working for a charity can do is immense. Think of the range of charities and social care organisations that exist: at one end there are the extremely small organisations which could be run by just one or two people; then at the other end of the spectrum there are global charity giants, such as Greenpeace and Médecins Sans Frontières.
These enormous entities employ both full-time, paid staff and volunteers and offer chances to work in a variety of roles, in a host of places around the world from capital cities to conflict zones.
Working for a charity of any size can be challenging and exhausting, but many attest that the work is highly rewarding and the experiences can be life-changing.
The social care sector, in particular, are in need of skilled people who are passionate about working with people. There are close to 1.6 million adult care staff working in the UK, helping to make the lives easier for children, adults and the elderly in need.
For more information on the job paths within Charity and Social Care click below:
Competition for positions at charities is surprisingly fierce and careers in charitable organisations can be extremely rewarding, in terms of both job satisfaction and financial reward.
For this reason, the number of professionals leaving their jobs in the private sector to work for charities is increasing, and the gap between private sector and charity salaries is slowly, but surely, diminishing.
This means that charities are now looking for more people who have relevant qualifications, either in a marketing or business background, so that they can get the best skills from their employees. That being said, working for a charity usually starts with volunteering.
The best way to ensure a job in charity and social care is to demonstrate that you are passionate about helping others and working towards a non-for-profit cause.
Volunteering in your local community centre or signing up for charity work whilst at school or during travels can help to show that you are passionate about charity and social care.
Particularly in the social care job path, vocational qualifications are vital. It is now necessary for all social workers to have passed certain checks and criteria before being able to care for the weak or elderly.