“There was a palpable sense of novelty and excitement from the get-go” – Laura’s experience of working at Better Connect

“There was a palpable sense of novelty and excitement from the get-go” – Laura’s experience of working at Better Connect

What is it like to work at Better Connect?

I was lucky enough to join Better Connect in April 2021, at an interesting time, as we transitioned from Your Consortium to Better Connect and underwent an organisational overhaul. Having joined straight out of university following a stint in retail, there was a palpable sense of novelty and excitement from the get-go, which has persisted almost a year later. Even now, one of the best things about being part of this organisation and working with such a lovely team, is the tendency to embrace and celebrate change. Opportunities for personal and in post development are abundant, and the culture is overwhelmingly positive, collaborative, and most importantly- passionate about affecting social change. Working for the third (non-profit) sector was always going to be a rewarding experience, but being even the smallest cog in this organisational wheel makes you take stock, and realise what you can accomplish collectively as a small team.


What is your day to day like in your role?

As one of the Co-ordinators in the Participant Experience team, day to day, I get to work with a caseload of fantastic and (incredibly lovely!) partners on ATI as they support their participants to traverse barriers, and gain access to employment and education- amongst other things. My role involves tracking the participant journey from start to finish in line with programme regulations, generating and taking referrals, assisting partners with queries and claims, and managing the behind the scenes, ‘nitty gritty’ of partner, keyworker, and participant collaboration. Although the role is mostly administrative, I love getting to read and see first-hand, every day, how ATI has transformed lives on a micro/macro scale across Yorkshire.


What makes us different from other organisations?

The standout thing for me, is the culture that current CEO, Sam, has cultivated here alongside the rest of the team; there’s a genuine and deliberate focus on wellbeing, and creating a supportive environment where everyone can thrive and get involved, which I never quite experienced in other workplaces despite enjoying aspects of those roles. Although we’re still mostly working from home, there’s also an emphasis on keeping the team connected, through 2pm Zoom calls on a Tuesday & Thursday with the whole team, (in essence, the virtual staff room!), and monthly team-days where we catch up and have ample opportunity express interest in what other members of the team are working on. On a previous team day, one of our partners, Autism Plus, came in to lead a session on recognising and accommodating neurodiversity, and this month’s focus will be on giving and receiving feedback, led by another one of our fantastic partners. But ultimately, it’s the partnership that makes our organisation singular in delivery; an incredibly committed team of likeminded individuals who are unwaveringly passionate about, and successful in delivering transformative programmes.


Why would people want to work at Better Connect?

The culture, values-based approach, and prospect of positively contributing across Better Connect’s programmes are what really piqued my interest when initially joining the team, but day to day, it’s the people who make the job truly enjoyable, it’s such a friendly bunch! Similarly, there are very little (if any) constraints when it comes to development, you’re actively encouraged to step outside the job description and get involved where you feel you want to; blog posts, social media, getting involved in different programmes? Just shout!

If your values align with ours and you’re looking to find footing, or are already firmly rooted in the voluntary sector, then check out our careers page for exciting upcoming opportunities; we’d love to have you on board: www.betterconnect.org.uk/careers/


Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Participant Experience Coordinator

As a Participant Experience Coordinator, Laura works on Better Connect’s Action Towards Inclusion programme, a scheme which helps individuals navigate and traverse their barriers to employment, education, and volunteering.  As Coordinator, she supports and manages the collaboration between partners, keyworkers, and participants on an administrative and ESF/National Lottery compliant scale. Laura tracks the ‘Participant Journey’ from start to finish, following participant engagement across the programme, and liaising with some truly transformative partners, as they deliver wide reaching support across York, North Yorkshire, and the East Riding area. The best part of her job is undoubtedly, seeing how the partnership empowers and facilitates change for those who need it.

Learn more about Laura