Class of 2019

Class of 2019

Gradunique differs from other schemes as its main interest is developing you as a graduate and arming you with the skills required to have a successful career within the charity sector. Safe to say I feel very honoured to have been offered the job!

Ishani Sarkar, Macmillan

I was attracted to the programme by the friendly process which focused on getting the best from the graduates. This was confirmed to me during the application process and put me at ease.

Bethany Peryer, Macmillan

Half way through her first placement in Gradunique, Bethany describes a week in her role in the Corporate Partnerships team…


Monday begins with a catch-up with my line manager. We discuss my workload, any support needed, priorities for the week, training opportunities and, of course, how our weekends were! My focus then turns to finishing off my first Christmas Fundraising pack for Travis Perkins and Benchmarx, to encourage some festive fundraising for Macmillan.


Tuesday kicks off with a Corporate Partnerships team call where we all share highlights and challenges from the previous week. I then work with the Corporate Volunteering team to manage the ‘Innovation Challenge’ for future leaders. The Innovation Challenge is a 2-day event where graduates and apprentices from both Macmillan, and our corporate partners, come together to collaborate, develop skills and create new fundraising initiatives to support people living with cancer. It is my first experience with project managing such a complex event and a great opportunity for professional development. The afternoon brings an end of partnership planning call with one of our corporate partners.


Wednesday means a catch-up with the Christmas Away Day planning committee. Later, I film our Chief Executive for an end of year ‘thank you’ video for one of our partners. The afternoon brings a meeting with the current cohort of interns, who I am supporting on their fundraising project, helping them with logistics, planning and delivery of the event. This is followed by a cross-organisation call for an exciting new partnership coming soon..!


Thursday sees me working on the telephone buddying service, a volunteering opportunity for partners where we match up volunteers as buddies to people living with cancer. It is such a rewarding project to work on and allows me to see first-hand the support that Macmillan provides. The day continues with a partnership launch planning with one of my managers and a team social after work!


On Fridays I focus on finishing off tasks and actions from throughout the week; this includes talking directly to key stakeholders at our corporate partners, calling service users and volunteers for the telephone buddying service to catch up with them and reflecting on meetings throughout the week. The Corporate Partnerships team is a fantastic place to be a graduate!

I was attracted to the scheme because it would give me the chance to be involved in different areas of work and gain a greater understanding where my skills and interests are particularly suited.

Rani Govender, BHF

Half way through her first placement in Gradunique, Rani describes a week in her role in the Legacy Marketing and Individual Giving (IG) teams…


I start the day in Legacy Marketing with our weekly huddle, where everyone in the team shares their success and development from the previous week as well as their priorities for the day. My focus is then on ‘Quizmas’ – the launch event for the Christmas Integration Project I’ve been working on with the IG team. It’s a great chance to highlight the exciting work different BHF teams have planned for Christmas, all whilst having some festive fun.


The day kicks off with a presentation about a communication pack I am project lead on. It’s been great to learn more about marketing since I’ve joined the BHF and it is very rewarding to see my ideas come to life. Another highlight of the day is the Fundraising Quarterly Update where we hear from different teams in the directorate and see how we can all collaborate in the future.


In the morning, I work on exciting plans with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity team in our directorate to discuss how we can promote diversity and representation across our work. Later in the day it’s our Legacy Marketing team meeting, where we all report on the results and learnings from our projects.


With more time at my desk on Thursday I focus on some more time-consuming work, such as an insight brief I am currently writing. I finish the day presenting to some colleagues in our research comms team, talking about where we can use a 360 image of a laboratory to give supporters a greater understanding of the research BHF funds.


One of my priorities every Friday is ensuring I have tracked my activities over the week in my status update table, which I share with my manager and helps ensure I have the support. I also reflect on my mid-placement review, which I had on Wednesday – the first three months with Gradunique have flown!

The opportunity to work in four different teams will be really useful. Working for two such well-known and yet different charities was also a big draw.

Tatiana Sherwood, BHF

”It’s been non-stop since I started Gradunique in September, getting to know the organisation and my colleagues. For the first of my four placements, I’m in the BHF’s research engagement team, which brings BHF-funded research to life for our colleagues and the public. As a snapshot of the range of projects I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with, what follows is a description of my diary last week.”


My colleague Leanne and I are leading a ‘Back to Basics’ session for the communications department. This is an opportunity to explain the research we fund in a simple, interactive way. I enjoy presenting, but as someone who doesn’t have a scientific background, I was initially a bit daunted about teaching science to others! However, with the help of my team, BHF resources and a healthy dose of Googling, I’ve learnt so much and I’m enjoying making this engaging for others.

Later, I have my weekly meeting with my line manger Christie; she is great at getting the balance between giving me responsibility for projects, whilst supporting me in areas I am less familiar with.


Like every morning, today starts with combing the papers for relevant press coverage.

Later, it’s time to think about Christmas! I’m working on an advent calendar which will reveal a different piece of research each day, so I’m searching for the most interesting projects from the year to feature.


It’s time to head to the Macmillan offices. I’m helping on the Gradunique stall at a careers event; hopefully the students will be encouraged to apply themselves.

In the evening, I’m off to Kennington for my first match with the BHF netball team. I hadn’t played since school, but everyone was so chilled and encouraging; I was surprised by how much fun I had.


Today, I’m supporting colleagues who are training BHF-funded PhD students to better communicate the important work they are doing. Not having a science background can be helpful as I am able to tell the students whether their summaries make sense to a non-scientist. This is crucial for them to be able to engage the public, and to apply for funding in the future.


After a week full of meetings and events, I’m looking forward to a bit more time at my desk to get stuck into some projects. I’m working on the final edits for a blog I’ve written about how sleep affects your heart.

In the evening, I go to the pub with my team to celebrate the fact that two of our colleagues have been at the BHF for a year. It’s lovely to chat to everyone outside of the office and is a good way to round off the week.


Applications for this award-winning graduate scheme have now closed.

For those that have applied you will be advised of the outcome of the assessment of your written application by 31st January 2020. If you would like to apply for next year please subscribe to our newsletter to be kept informed of when applications will be open again.

Subscribe to our newsletter

By submitting your email, you are consenting to the use of your personal data by CJA Group Ltd solely for the purposes of recruitment services and specifically to provide you with information and contacting you about your job application and interest in the Gradunique Programme. We will also share the information that you provide with the Programme partners British Heart Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support for the purposes set out above. Should you have any queries regarding the use of your personal data, please contact us. You can withdraw your consent to be contacted at any time by emailing us.

Follow @gradunique

Our Locations