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Graduate schemes and internships in the charity/not-for-profit sector

It can be hard to know where to look for graduate schemes in the charity sector, so we've put together this handy list of options available.

Graduate schemes aren't as widespread in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector as they are in the commercial sector – many charities don't have the resources to run intensive training programmes and prefer to take on staff as and when they’re needed.

However, there are a small number of graduate schemes on offer. Some organisations also offer internships, which may not lead to a graduate job but can give you a head start when applying for work.

  • Amnesty International recruits interns for its International Secretariat (IS) offices in London, Geneva and New York (and occasionally for other offices). Interns work part time or full time for four to six months. Internships tend to focus on international law and advocacy or are fellowships in partnership with universities.
  • Barnardo’s offers a variety of roles available across the country, as well as voluntary retail and fundraising roles.
  • The British Red Cross runs voluntary internships around the UK. Interns work in one of a number of departments, including fundraising, marketing and refugee services. Internships are part-time basis and last for eight to twelve weeks.
  • Cancer Research UK runs a graduate training scheme in a range of areas: finance, policy, scientific strategy and funding, technology, HR, and information and communications. It also runs a paid internship scheme with placements in departments such as communications, technology and fundraising. Internships are 12 weeks long.
  • Charityworks offers paid, full-time, 12-month graduate trainee positions in a partner charity or housing association, where trainees take part in leadership programmes that introduce them to the skills needed to work and lead in the non-profit sector. You'll need at least a 2.1 in any discipline and experience that shows your commitment to social change, whether this is paid/unpaid, home/abroad or included caring responsibilities.
  • Frontline offers a leadership development programme based around a two-year graduate job scheme in social work. The organisation also has student and graduate opportunities, both on campus and within the head office team.
  • IntoUniversity is a charity that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to university. It runs a graduate scheme and offers voluntary internships at its offices around the country
  • Macmillan Cancer Support offers volunteer internships in areas such as events and fundraising.
  • Oxfam offers part-time voluntary internships that last 12 weeks. There are opportunities in a range of departments, including events, marketing and HR.
  • People and Planet is a student-led organisation that aims to give young people the skills and confidence to make change happen. It offers paid internships that last 13 months and that include training and support.
  • Teach First is a charity that runs a two-year leadership development scheme based around teaching. Graduates who take part will come away with a PGDE (that’s worth double the credits of a PGCE), the opportunity to take a masters, and a network of friends and associates.
  • The Starfish Greathearts Foundation, an international development charity, offers voluntary internships at its offices in London. Internships are typically around three months long, for three to four days a week.
  • Wellcome is a research charity that supports scientific research and development. It runs a two-year graduate development programme in which trainees work alongside experienced professionals in areas including policy, funding and operations.
  • Worthwhile runs a graduate scheme offering placements in small charities alongside training and personal development.
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