There probably aren’t many Charity CEO’s and heads of fundraising, or business development leads at social enterprises, who sat in their careers advice session at school and named that role as their dream option.
That’s not to say that these roles aren’t great to be in; that they aren’t rewarding, fulfilling and satisfying on so many levels – but they’re just unlikely to have been top of a career aspiration list when we were 15, 18 or even 25.
The likelihood is that many people have found themselves in roles in the voluntary community and social enterprise sector as a result of organic progression, unexpected career twists, or a deep and heartfelt desire to create something from scratch which delivers for a particular community in society.
What that means therefore, is that few such individuals would have had gone into their post with the breadth of all the assets and skills which come to be useful to such a pivotal professional roles.
It’s a picture very much reflected in the FSI survey published earlier this month, which focused their research particularly on small and medium sized organisations, and shows how many people at the smaller scale end of the VCSE sector feel a requirement for more skills and upskilling.
That’s particularly the case in tasks centered on fundraising, which we know to be one of the jobs facing regular recruitment struggles. Business planning, marketing and communications, and also web development, are just a few other areas where people feel more skills and education is needed within the sector.
So should we look at these findings as being reason to be despondent and despairing about the gaps in skills within our sector? Should we worry about how this reflects on the charity arena?
Not at all
It’s imperative we remind ourselves of the multiple hats we in the sector wear, and the multitude of challenges, audiences and funding pressures we encounter. If anything, we should applaud one another on what is being achieved, and remind ourselves that those areas of ‘need’ and ‘gap’, can often be found through collaboration, peer support and the ability to reach out and ask.
At Community Action Suffolk, one of our key strategic priorities for 2019 is about enabling organisations and their teams to be the very best they can be, across all areas of skill delivery.
Being new to the role of Chief Executive at CAS, please, if you have an issue around upskilling or training needs, feel free to contact me and to discuss how we can help you – through training, workshops, or supporting you through trusted supplier partners. CAS TRAINING
Take heart. We are a strong and determined sector of great people with great passion. That passion is an asset which so many British businesses only wish their staff might possess.
Christine Abraham | Chief Executive
24th April 2019