The NCVO has recently started receiving applications for their ‘A Day in the Life’ work shadowing initiative, which invites executives from both civil society and government to experience a day in the other’s shoes.
There are eight government departments taking part, and historically feedback on the project has been incredibly positive, with over 80% of participants stating that it was ‘worthwhile’. The idea is to build insight and empathy between government and the charity sector at the same time as developing a better working knowledge of processes and procedures.
The scheme is popular too, with over 1,100 participants last year, and it is open to all levels of seniority ‘from chief execs to admin staff’ completely free-of-charge.
As with the charity twinning exercise recently launched by Charity Choice, it seems that ‘A Day in the Life’ offers a real opportunity for shared learning, and although it doesn’t formally aim to forge an ongoing relationship between the two parties, it does make a connection that can be developed according to what proves to be useful and relevant to those taking part.
There seems to be a consensus that innovation in learning is something that can strengthen voluntary organisations in these difficult times, and initiatives like ‘A Day in the Life’ are leading the way in this respect. What is more, on the other side of the coin, few could deny the value of demonstrating the way charities work in practice to those within Whitehall who can often seemed quite far removed from the coalface.
Gaining and sharing understanding is fantastic but, of course, it is always the first step and as this project progresses (it was first launched in 2009) it would be interesting to see if measurable benefits are tracked and/or there is a noticeable, or even quantifiable benefit to the sector emerging.