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RSM and Santander partner with university for charity board initiative

Posted: 21st November 2017

GOBpathwaysEdinburgh Napier played host to an initiative which gives students the chance to take up trustee positions on charity boards.

Seventy students took part in the Trustee Week event at the Craiglockhart campus, held in collaboration with Santander and RSM.

The students heard presentations and discussed volunteering opportunities with Scottish SPCA, National Trust Scotland, Chest Heart & Stroke, Inspiring Scotland, Edinburgh
Fringe, Blackwood and Carr Gomm.

The event, organised by university Get on Board (GOB) team Dr Miles Weaver and Dr Jackie Brodie, also heard from Angus Hannah, who told how GOB boosted his skills set,
prepared him for the world of work and led to a role as Vice Chair of the Voluntary Action Fund.

The Get on Board programme was launched with the aim of placing Edinburgh Napier students on the boards of local charities, voluntary sector organisations or public
bodies, where they could network with professionals and help make decisions which impact on the community.

The university team have now adapted the training model from the programme to produce a Get on Board ‘competency pathway’ that can be used by any Scottish university
which opts into the initiative.

A presentation by Dr Miles Weaver showed how the competency pathway was developed from research by the GOB team about the benefits the course has given students by
preparing them to be ‘Board ready’.

Additional corporate support for the development of the pathway has been given by Janet Hamblin of RSM, Arthur Lawrence of Santander and Julie Hutchinson of Standard Life

The GOB competency pathway offers three levels of experience for the students. Bronze level sees students supported to a foundation level of knowledge, skills and mindset
in board governance.

The Bronze award is achieved by completing a workbook, authored by the university GOB team for use on the initiative, and undertaking a reflective discussion.

Next comes the Silver level of the training experience, where students engage in 14 hours of professional development and produce a logbook of activities chosen from a
listing of those offered in board governance in Scotland.

Students then progress to the Gold level of the pathway, which includes professional recognition of a board-level role over a sustained period.

An additional benefit of undertaking the GOB pathway is the option to pursue further accreditation through the Association of Corporate Governance Practitioners (ACGP), a
governance professional body.

Dr Brodie, a senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship, said: “It is interesting to note that of the 1800 voluntary sector organisations across Edinburgh, an estimated 90 per
cent of voluntary organisations in the city have vacancies for trustees. By supporting our students to take up those vacant positions, we are supporting capacity
building, and the development of change makers in the community who can bring their unique skills set to address some of the key issues our society faces.

“Linked to Edinburgh Napier’s 2020 strategy, the GOB competency pathway is also helping to prepare students to be more resilient and responsible citizens able to take on
challenging, but highly rewarding roles, such as social entrepreneurs and charity leaders in the third sector.”

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