Children England launches ‘no degree’ employment campaign

 In news

Children’s sector membership organisation, Children England has launched a campaign to encourage voluntary sector organisations to employ more young people who do not have university degrees.

The Open to All campaign was launched on Wednesday by Children England and the National Children’s Bureau and has since partnered with two additional charities – the Edge Foundation and Young Women’s Trust.

All four organisations have pledged to “only require a degree for roles where it is technically necessary”, according to Children England.
Chloë Darlington, policy and campaigns manager for Children England said the campaign aims to increase accessibility to the voluntary sector, while achieving a permanent change in employer attitudes.

“Young people find it hard enough to get a decently paid job, to find affordable housing and all those things – and we should be offering then the best route into the charity sector that we can,” she told Civil Society News.

“As an umbrella body, we’ve discussed it with our members and they were all really on board. So we expect it to be a no brainer. We feel that the children and young people’s sector should put their money where their mouth is with this,” she said.

The campaign has attracted further interest since Wednesday from charities interested in signing the pledge, Darlington said.

“We’ve had loads of people get in touch and say this is brilliant, so we don’t expect it to take long and we do expect it to be popular.”

Children England said it hopes the campaign will be ongoing and similar to the Living Wage campaign.

“It’s not got a sell-by date on it. It needs to be permanent,” said Darlington. “There’s a bit of a legacy out there that needs changing. We can stop requiring degrees but actually it will take a longer time to persuade people that we mean it; that we’ve got alternative ways of training people and that we’re reaching out to schools and colleges.”

“We all expect to see degrees mentioned in charity job adverts and it’s going to take a while before people actually believe what we say. So it’s going to go on for a long time.”

Charities interested in signing the Open to All pledge can access recruitment advice through Children England’s – including guidance on promoting job opportunities to school and college leavers, measuring the skills of candidates without degrees and providing traineeships.

Sign the pledge here

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