Why get into children's charities?
Very simply, working with children can be one of the most fulfilling jobs out there. Effectively, you’re involved in shaping somebody’s future. However, we’re not going to lie, it takes a certain type of person to fit in to this area of work. You have to be pretty special.
Children and young people are certainly the most vulnerable people in society. Consequently, charities like Barnado’s, Save the Children and the NSPCC, are some of the most important organisations in the world. For child care jobs or a career in youth development, there is no better time to start looking for graduate jobs than now. The demand is pretty high!
What do I need to work in a children's charity?
Patience, confidence and good communication skills are the main personal skills you’ll need to hone before pursuing a career with a children’s charity. You’ll also need to actually like children and like being around them. That’s kind of a big thing! Most employers will prefer you to have some previous experience of working with children.
A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check – formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check - is essential for roles that involve direct interaction with children.
What will I be doing?
There are no ‘typical’ days when you work for a children’s charity. You could be helping all kinds of young whippersnappers, from babies and toddlers, to young children and teenagers.
Social workers and support workers play an incredibly important role in helping children of all ages. However, if you’re looking to specifically work with children at the younger end of the age spectrum, you might consider being a play worker in a playgroup or as a nursery nurse. If you want to help to improve the lives of teenagers and young adults, you might want to get stuck into youth work and help out in youth groups.
Understandably, adoption and foster care is a big focus of children’s charities and the people that organise and arrange adoptions and fostering placements have some of the most valuable careers in the country.
Whatever route you choose to take in this line of work, it can be beneficial to gain experience of working with autistic children and children with behavioural problems. The more experience you have of working in different environments and with different children, the more employable you will be. It also shows that you’re versatile and able to react well to challenging situations.
Furthermore, children’s charities offer the whole range of office-based charity careers. You could use your marketing skills and get involved with the campaigning, communications and marketing side of things.
Alternatively, you could use your organisational talents and take on an administrative role, or use your research skills and become a social researcher to help influence policies on social care for children and young people.
So, think you can get ‘down with the kids’ without throwing your own dummy out? If so, a career in children and young people’s charities could be the one for you.