02 September 2020

BLOG: From bedside to shoreside – working your way to a charity

Lots of people want to work for a charity for many reasons. The good news is charities need a variety of people with a range of skills from different backgrounds to be successful.

In the first two parts of this Wider Horizons blog we met our operations teams in Cowes and Largs. Now we find out how they came to work for the Trust and their advice in getting into a charity where you will find yourself part of a team with a shared passion.

How did you end up at the Trust?

Hayley S: My background is events organisation. My first ‘real’ job was a Wedding Coordinator. I then moved into the travel industry and was an events logistics coordinator for a chauffeur company. My cousin was working for the Trust in 2017 and when the role became available, he knew I’d be interested so sent me the job advert. My job combines all those things I did before as every trip is an event that needs to be organised meticulously.

Beth: Before the Trust I worked in several different roles such as a Teaching Assistant, Lifeguard and Swimming Teacher. I also volunteered for my local hospital before beginning a degree in Midwifery. I’d had not heard about the Trust, but my friend recommended it to me. After learning what the Trust was all about, I was so keen to be involved. I got in touch, met the team, and started the job as Summer Trip Assistant a week before the first trip!

Holly: I used to work for a ‘Mystery Shopping’ company and coordinated thousands of shops to take place all over the UK & Ireland. For six years before that, I worked in various customer service, social media and customer facing roles for a beauty brand. I wanted a change of career and finding the Trust advert online was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I’d been supporting my local Brownies unit for a while and it felt so great to be able to support young people to learn and try new things. I didn’t hesitate to apply!

Lorna: When I left school I wanted to work in hotels, so I trained as a Chef, but that didn’t work out the way I expected so I switched to Cabin Crew, which was great fun. I took a career break to have a family and while I was off, went back to college to retrain in office and computer skills. A friend of mine saw the Trust job advertised and when I read the advert I thought ‘WOW, how amazing are they?!’ I’d never heard of the Trust, but from the moment I did I was desperately keen to become a part of it.

Hayley A: The Trust originally ran its trips from UKSA, a sailing school on the Isle of Wight, and I was working there as the yachting department’s Programme Administrator. I saw the Trust trips start and finish and could never get over how much louder the group were on the last day when they were going home. When the Trust’s Young Person and Hospital Liaison role was advertised, I jumped at the chance to apply, the job sounded perfect. It was a no brainer and the best thing I’ve ever done!

Lucy: I worked for Hampshire Police for 17 years. My job was managing the day-to-day admin/resourcing of the Firearms Officers; making sure there were enough Officers on duty every day, keeping their training up-to-date, providing support for local and national events (for example, festivals and Royal Weddings) and providing emergency resources. But I was really keen to work for a local charity. I liked how the Trust’s support doesn’t have an end date and it was very clear how much the Trust cares about every young person. As I walked into the office for my first interview, I made a joke about cake and thought I had totally embarrassed myself. Turns out, everyone in the office loves cake so it went in my favour!

What’s your advice for anyone wanting to work for a charity?

Hayley A: There is a quote that says, “If you find a job you love you will never work a day for the rest of your life”. This couldn’t be truer for me. Don’t panic if you have no idea what you want to do. I definitely didn’t have a clear direction; it just naturally developed. Whatever job you do, give it your all, and take as much information and experience in as you can.

Lorna: Just follow your dreams, take every opportunity offered to you, especially learning, you can never have too much knowledge or string to your bows. It gives you more choices.

Holly: Gaining experience is really important, even voluntarily. Alongside the Trust I’ve supported my local Girl Guiding Unit for a few years. This is my Monday evening of FUN and an opportunity to feel part of a community. I’ve gained various skills of working with young people and this supported my application. If you have an interest and some spare time alongside your current career to volunteer, you never know what path it will lead you down.

Lucy: Do some online Microsoft office courses and practice using these. In an office, they are used every day. Excel is a great tool when your job requires storing and analysing data; it does some pretty cool stuff! Look for places locally that take on work experience. Volunteering may not bring in money short term but gaining experience will be worth it long term.

Hayley S: Try to look for the positives in every situation. Look at everything as a learning experience and don’t be scared to give something a shot. I’m the same as Hayley A in that I am not a sailor, but I didn’t let that put me off coming to work here.

Beth: My advice is simple. GO FOR IT!

The final part of our Ops Team blog series will be published on Wednesday 09 September at 7pm.