Headlines: April 23rd, 2008

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations has proposed that the Government should develop a university for the third sector to harness the talents of many talented graduates now considering the sector as a serious career option.

The third sector is made up of organisations that are not-for-profit and non-government, together with the activities of volunteering and giving which sustain them. These organisations are a major component of many industries including community health services, rural, education, housing, sport and recreation, culture and finance. Third sector organisations vary greatly in size and in their activities. They include neighbourhood associations,sporting clubs, recreation societies, community associations, chambers of commerce, churches, religious orders, credit unions, political parties, trade unions, trade and professional associations, private schools, charitable trusts and foundations, some hospitals, welfare organisations and even some large insurance companies.

Stephen Bubb, CEO of acevo, said: “As a professional sector, contributing significantly to the country’s economy, now is the time to develop a university for the third sector. The workforce in the sector equates to 1.5 million full time workers and 6 million full time equivalent,volunteers. We are a major resource for the country, no longer at the margins. We need to invest in building on what already exists through research and training.

The profile of the sector and the policy context in which it operates, makes it an increasingly attractive choice for graduates. The association argues that there is a need to harness talent, develop the skills base and leadership for the future. The alumni of a university would create an invaluable network of leaders.