Jowita Szyszka is a current associate on the 2027 programme, they joined 2027 and launched their career in grant-making in 2021 through a placement at the NHS Charities Together. In this blog, they talk about their experience applying to 2027, share insight into what they find valuable about the programme, and give advice to potential applicants.
My placement experience
I initially stumbled by 2027 during my search for work back in 2021. At the time, I was working 2 jobs in the third sector and doing an unofficial grant-making internship with an organisation I used to work for, so the programme seemed almost like a perfect fit, though I’d never really considered coming into the sector on my own before.
My experience itself has been quite unique, as I have now been on two placements after being made redundant from the first placement I was on. It’s been great to have the support and effort of the 2027 team behind me to organise another placement and I couldn’t be happier to be where I am now, which is at the NHS Charities Together
During a typical day, I’ll assess an application or report and ask for guidance on anything I need help with. However, not many days are the same as I’m prone to going on visits, team away days, or meetings, so every so often I actually spend my days either catching trains or planes or working away from home. Hopefully, as the country opens up in 2022, I’ll be looking to go on more site visits and see some of the projects we have funded. My organisation is still developing and changing, so there are a lot of things going on sometimes, but the team is extremely supportive, I don’t think I could survive without them!
What I value the most about the development programme
Connecting with my peers and developing a network
It’s really hard to think of the most meaningful experience on the programme as I’ve been privileged to have many. I think one of the things I’ve treasured the most so far, is the time I am able to spend with the other Associates. Everyone on the programme has been lonely and being able to talk to like-minded people is irreplaceable. I’ve had the pleasure to travel with my organisation, and knowing that there is an associate, willing to even meet me for lunch in a city is heart-warming, to say the least.
My growth as a person
The programme itself is a little bit different to what I originally expected, as it’s more focused on yourself and empowerment to make a change. As I’m used to being more academic and directed in my learning, it’s been a big learning curve, but I’m really happy to have had this development opportunity so far. I feel as though the programme has helped me grow a lot as a person and the way I think about my career and the sector as a whole.
Application process insights
- The application process happens from January to August, so be prepared that it’s a lengthier recruitment process than for a regular job
- Have fun! I was surprised at the range of assessment activities and things we participated in, but they were honestly great fun
- Keep in mind you’ll be finding out your outcome from July to August. I think the only thing that made it stressful was how long it took to find out my outcome but when I did, it was the best news I could expect! I was then matched and signed my contract with an organisation within the space of about a week, which was pretty extraordinary
My advice to applicants
- Don’t let imposter syndrome get in the way!
- Be proactive and open
- Reach out to others for help – be realistic that sometimes your placement may be challenging and you’ll be going against the grain depending on what organisation you’re in but don’t shy away from reaching out to others; they’ll be your saving grace in the moments you feel like pulling your hair out
- Put in what you’d like to get out of the programme – the programme is what you make of it. It really pays off to be active, try different things and get others involved, that’s when you really have interesting conversations and develop a drive to change
The 2027 programme is currently open for applications and will close on 30 March, 1 pm. Apply by clicking here.
The 2027 team are also running a live information session, 24 March, 1 pm. Register your attendance here.