Advance Housing & Support have a longstanding relationship with Charityworks having worked with us since 2009. Their team interviewed Philip Jackson, Advance’s Head of ICT & Business Systems about his role, his relationship with the Charityworks programme and their experience of hiring graduates through the scheme.
I have worked at Advance for over 20 years in a number of roles, and my current role is Head of ICT & Business Systems.
I have been in involved with Charityworks for a number of years. I attend one or two days a year at the assessment centres assisting Charityworks with the selection of graduates for each yearly intake. I have previously been involved in the marking of assignments and for the last two years have also acted as a mentor for graduates on the programme. Acting as a mentor has been hugely rewarding, and certainly helped me to take more time to understand the challenges, concerns and development needs of my own team.
I have also line managed graduates at Advance, who have worked in roles across the Resources directorate, on projects that include; data protection, information management, policy & procedure management and business systems development.
We aim to employ and train the best staff to support our customers and we have an active staff development programme, regularly employ apprentices throughout the organisation and employ graduates through Charityworks.
Charityworks provides us with the opportunity to access talented graduates to help us deliver key operational objectives and projects. We also get satisfaction from supporting initiatives that encourage talented individuals to develop their careers in the voluntary/not for profit sector.
Graduates bring enthusiasm, drive and new ideas, and encourage the internal team to think about how they might work differently to improve service delivery and overall performance. They also provide a healthy challenge to established ways of working. As graduates are only with the organisation for a year, the programme provides a mechanism to help us focus on priority objectives, ensuring that we get best value for money from the graduate and that projects are delivered in a timely fashion. Graduates really enhance the energy within teams, and their enthusiasm can be infectious, leading to reinvigorated teams and project groups.
Graduates are given the opportunity to get involved at a high level in the delivery of operational and strategic objectives. We work with the graduates and the Charityworks team to ensure that they get the most benefit out of the placement, providing them with a structured programme of work with a clear set of objectives. They are supported to consider their future in the sector and provided with opportunities for learning and development.
We work with the graduates on an individual basis to help develop their role and the experiences that incorporates their own strengths and interests, and we provide additional support and training in any areas of personal challenge.
The Charityworks programme provides a cost-effective way to access talented graduates who are genuinely interested in working in the voluntary sector. The degree of commitment shown by the graduates that have worked at Advance over the years has been impressive and they have delivered some real benefits to the organisation and to our customers. The robust selection process ensures that organisations are provided with access to the brightest and most talented graduates. They are well supported by the Charityworks team and are quick to share their learning from learning events run throughout the year.
The Charityworks graduate programme allows organisations to get involved in the early development of new leaders of the future. It’s a win, win situation for the host organisation, the sector and the graduate.