Fast little loans
In the current economic climate, characterised by high unemployment and great poverty and need, it makes sense that job opportunities would exist in the sector that works on alleviating the effects of poverty.
This was confirmed by Kelvin Glen, director of the Tiger Brands Foundation, a section 21 company that runs corporate social responsibility initiatives on behalf of the Tiger Brands Group.
The NGO sector is one of the largest in the economy, according to Glen. There are about 250 000 NGOs in the country and they all employ people, he says.
“The problem is that NGO work is perceived to be charity work, suited to retired people or housewives,” Glen says.
“People do not realise that it is a profession, a growing one, requiring skilled people who are passionate about what they do and who want to make this type of work a career.”
Glen believes that working in the NGO sector does not feature on the radar of young people.
“They will often spend large amounts of money studying for degrees that do not lead to employment and then find themselves stuck,” he says.
The reality is that there is a wide range of job opportunities available in the sector.
“The successful NGOs are run on business lines and require all the skills that any successful business needs,” Glen says.
“These organisations don’t employ fund-raisers who work for a share of what they collect. They need well-trained, passionate staff.”
And the truth is that there are not many suitable people around. “There is a shortage of the right people and good staff tend to rotate around the organisations,” Glen says. “There is certainly a need for fresh blood.”
The work is not very high paying, but, Glen points out, there is the added advantage of knowing you are making a difference.
“Wanting to make a contribution is important to many people, including the youth,” Glen says. “A young unemployed graduate could do worse than spend a year or two working for an NGO, even as a volunteer, to build up experience and to have some meaningful work experience to list on his or her CV.
“That record of productive work may just mean the difference between getting a job and having your CV left on the pile.”
Those who impress as volunteers stand a chance of being employed and gaining experience in a real job in an interesting, challenging sector – experience that will be invaluable later on.
“The skills needed are the technical ones relevant to the area in which the NGO works, while marketing, communication and fund-raising professionals are required by all sectors,” Glen says.
“The sector is crying out for good people. It’s never been truer to say that young people are not owed a job or entitled to a career.”
Getting involved in the NGO sector is a great way to “pay your dues” and set yourself up for a successful future.
l E-mail Glen at kelvin.glen@ tigerbrands.com, or visit www.the tigerbrandsfoundation.com