Life of a Trustee!

We sit down with Charles Walker, trustee at NAPCE to see what his day as a trustee looks like,

What the charity’s name is and what it does in brief? 

The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education — or NAPCE — is an organisation focused on the welfare and personal development of young people in schools, colleges and universities. Founded in 1982, the association aims to provide links between education professionals and allied agencies who have an interest in the pastoral care and welfare of students of all ages. 

Why did you want to become a trustee? 

Growing up, I’d been involved in a number of community initiatives like volunteering in a food and furniture bank, providing stationery to schools in Africa and establishing a youth parliament. Whilst we continue to face some serious challenges as a society, it was powerful to see the impact that people coming together for a shared cause could have. I became very interested in the third sector and its ability to create positive and long-lasting change. Having spent several years volunteering on the ‘front line’, I wanted to learn more about the bigger picture and the decision-making which drives forward the work of so many incredible organisations; this led me to trusteeship. 

How much time do you spend being a trustee?

I don’t tend to think of NAPCE as a charity, but rather a membership association with a charitable status that allows us to do even more in supporting the lives of young people. Therefore, although I’m a named trustee, my main responsibility is as the student member of the National Executive Committee. On average, we have two committee meetings a year — usually in London or Worcester — as well as a number of other events such as our awards evening and annual conference. I think we’re particularly fortunate as an association: being membership-based means that there isn’t perhaps as much of an emphasis on fundraising and our small but dedicated administrative team play a vital role in keeping things running. Both these factors allow us to focus the majority of our time on our core purpose and objectives. 

What does a typical day look like when you are working with your trustee hat on?

Ask any trustee and I think you’d get the same response: there’s no such thing as a typical day. As my interest in education has developed, one issue which always stands out to me is the lack of young voices in conversations about issues which affect them. However, conscious of this, NAPCE specifically recruited me as a young trustee and therefore my primary role is to bring a relevant (and hopefully insightful) student perspective to any discussion. This could be in a range of settings, from an executive committee meeting to acting as a guest speaker at our recent conference. Beyond these formal events, I also try to act as an ambassador for NAPCE, promoting its fantastic work wherever possible. As a neuroscience student, I’m particularly interested in wellbeing and how developing innovative policies and practices can improve outcomes.

What’s been the best thing about being a trustee so far? 

Without a doubt, the best part is working alongside the people of NAPCE — its national executive, members, writers, speakers and many more — who are so dedicated to our cause and our work. As a school governor, NAPCE provides a fantastic insight into current best practice, which I can feed directly into my school community to understand first-hand its implementation and impact. 

What’s the hardest thing been?

Particularly when first joining, there was definitely a sense of imposter syndrome. Being just 21, and having begun my trusteeship at 20, it sometimes feels like I shouldn’t really be sat around the table (or Zoom screen!). However, the committee are a fantastic group of individuals who share a common purpose and welcoming outlook, and (I hope) value my contributions. 

What’s your top tip to anyone thinking of becoming a trustee?

My top tip for anyone considering becoming a trustee, and particularly for younger candidates, is to keep going. Before I joined NAPCE I faced a lot of rejection. This included many charities that didn’t even bother to acknowledge my application, let alone provide any sort of feedback. It seemed as if many didn’t take me seriously, likely based on my age and relative lack of experience. This is a great shame for such a wonderful sector and hopefully something which will improve as barriers to trusteeship are broken down. However, I eventually found NAPCE: a perfect match and a cause I truly believe in. For any younger candidates reading this, there will be an organisation out there somewhere which is the right match, even if finding it takes a little longer. 

If you would like to find out more about becoming a trustee, we are offering a free 60 minute online session on the 5th July
12:00 – 13:00, where Ian Joseph, Managing Director of Trustees Unlimited will introduce what it means to be a trustee, the responsibilities involved, and how to become one.

This event is open to anyone that would like to know more about the charity world and trusteeship.

Register your free spot today.

Not sure some of the terms used? We have created a jargon buster to help you cut through complexity and get straight to the definition, explanation and content that you need.

Our commitment to diversity & inclusion

Trustees Unlimited believes that diverse boards strengthen society. We will strive to remove the barriers that prevent people from applying to become trustees and help our clients to recruit and support people with a wide range of skills and lived experience.

Find out more