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Blog | 14 February 2021

My Social Change apprenticeship with Scouts

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Arvinda Lalli talks through his placement on the very first of its kind – a Social Change apprenticeship, launched in 2019.

Embarking on this programme almost a year and a half ago has been fruitful in many ways. Being exposed to different areas within the operational realm of Scouting has enabled me to appreciate how all these different aspects work in great synergy to provide young people with the opportunity to develop skills that will last a lifetime. Having a blend of university learning and on-the-job working has also been an intellectually stimulating experience. Currently, I’m undergoing modules that include responsible leadership, corporate social responsibility and regulatory environment.

The main essence of the Social Change degree apprenticeship is to help increase diversity, inclusion and equality amongst management within the charity sector. As a Sikh, these qualities are one of the focal points of our belief. Regardless of colour, creed, background or gender, all should be treated as one. Having the ability to build a career based on these values is a phenomenal opportunity and one that I’m very fortunate to be a part of.

The initiative embraced its first cohort of students in September 2019, which I was grateful to be a part of. The typical week, during university term, would consist of two days solely dedicated to university learning. Pre-pandemic, we would’ve attended lectures on campus at Queen Mary University Of London but since the pandemic, all university learning has been moved online. The remaining three days of the weekday would be used for my time working with Scouts on a full-time basis.

My first rotation put me in the Communications and Marketing team, where I learnt the procedures and methods of communicating with our young members and adult volunteers – to keep them up-to-date – and partners and MPs, to help build working relationships around the values of Scouts. My next placement was in the Governance team. It offered a rare opportunity to meet the Board of Trustees and Team UK members – these altruistic individuals offer time and expertise for the Scouts movement to prosper.

In October 2020, to present day, I’ve been exposed to the Commercial directory of Scouts, a powerhouse of income generation that’s purely used to reinvest back into the movement. Spending time in Scouts Store, Conferencing, Unity Insurance Services and now currently in Scout Adventures has widened my understanding of how these different departments operate uniquely to create a sustainable platform for Scouts to thrive, as demonstrated by the resilience shown during the pandemic.

Being on the course has helped me not only develop my understanding of Scouts, but also with my personal development. At the start of the programme, balancing university and work was difficult; however, with practice and with sufficient organisation, the issue of time management began to dissolve. Even now it isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely a step up from when I first started. Likewise, I believe my communication skills have also improved through being involved with open discussions with groups of colleagues, as well as presenting research and pooling ideas across the table. All in all, I’ve immensely enjoyed my first year and a half as an apprentice at Scouts. I feel as though I’ve been growing throughout the months, and look forward to seeing what other skills I can gain throughout the rest of the placement.

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