Charity and the third sector

Charity sector - Photo (cc)

Student profile: Nikki

Nikki, BA Applied Social Science - CYP. NSPCC Graduate Training Scheme.

Careers in the charity and third sector

If you are passionate about a particular social cause, you may consider working within a charity or other third-sector organisation. These organisations tend to be not-for-profit, may depend on volunteers and have a particular remit or responsibility.

As a graduate in Social Policy or Applied Social Science you will work in a professional role in these organisations, tackling directly the social challenges they have been set up to address.

Relevance of our degrees

Our Social Policy and Applied Social Science degree programmes allow you to develop expertise in a particular social field, for example youth offending, sustainability, housing, policing or criminal justice. This knowledge provides a foundation for working in these sectors either in the provision of service, or in the charity and third sector to support people, campaign or promote awareness relating to these social issues.

The critical thinking skills developed during the course of the degree programme form the basis of your skillset as you will tackle these difficult social problems in an active way, directly improving the society in which we live.

You may start in a Graduate Training Scheme with larger charities, progressing to management positions. The charity and third sector also have roles in fundraising, communications, support and advocacy with service users and policy development.

Profile: Nikki

Nikki, BA Applied Social Science - Children and Young People

Nikki graduated from our BA Applied Social Science - Children and Young People programme. This degree course embeds a placement shadowing opportunity to see first hand the relationship of policy and practice. Nikki went on to accept a place on the NSPCC Graduate Training Scheme. 


Having looked through lots of university prospectuses and not really finding a degree course that really appealed I came across the Applied Social Sciences - Children and Young People course at York, immediately it caught my eye.  After reading the details of the course and the syllabus I knew that it was my ideal degree.  I have always had an interest in children and young people and had been involved in several volunteering projects before university in child focussed settings.

Support and passion

Looking back over my three years at York and specifically on my degree course, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.  The Department of Social Policy and Social Work provided support whenever it was needed, there is a range of highly skilled lecturers who are specialists in the fields and who are so clearly passionate about their work.  There are several different pathways within the Social Policy umbrella which ensured that there was always a very wide variety of modules to choose from each term and also acted as a great way to meet lots of different people who all had similar interests.


One of the modules required us to complete a placement in a child focused setting; I completed my placement at a primary school in York looking at the implementation of the numeracy and literacy strategies.  I thoroughly enjoyed the placement as it provided me with the opportunity to work directly with children whilst also evaluating how government strategies are implemented on a practical level.

Graduate Trainee Scheme

Since graduating I was fortunate enough to get one of two places on the NSPCC Graduate Trainee Scheme.  The scheme consists of a series of 6-8 week placements in the various fundraising departments.  This included the following teams: corporate fundraising, high value donors, special events, national events and direct donor marketing teams.  Having completed the scheme I now work in the National Corporate Partnerships department where I work across the new business team trying to secure new partnerships with companies and the account management team who manage existing partnerships and Charity of the Year schemes. 

Love working here

I absolutely love working here because it provides the perfect balance between being in the buzz of London and doing an office job, the crossover between charity and the corporate world but most importantly I come to work everyday knowing I am making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children.  The work of the NSPCC is vital to help protect children from abuse as well as helping those who have been abused to work through it and provide them with someone to turn to.  It is great to have done a degree which feeds into so much of the work the NSPCC do, particularly in our policy departments.

Many career options

I would strongly recommend this degree to anyone who has a passion for children and who are interested in learning more about social policies for children and young people - there are so many career options open to you on completion of the degree.

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Developing a career

Initial training

Leading to

Progressing to

  • Professional and managerial levels

Professional development