Posted: 05 June 2015

Volunteers' Week: 'The skills and experience you can get out of it are just brilliant'

In celebration of Volunteers' Week, we spoke to Lily, an A-level student volunteering at our headquarters over the past 18 months.

Find out more about Volunteers' Week. 

Where do you study and what A-levels are you taking?

I go to City of London School for Girls and am doing geography, Spanish and maths for A-level. I’m then going to study geography at university, after doing a gap year in which I’ll work and then travel in South America.

Why did you get involved as a volunteer with The Children’s Society?

I first got involved following a recommendation from my school to get involved in community service. I chose to apply to The Children’s Society because I wanted to work with a charity that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. I also wanted the opportunity to gain some professional experience in a charity, which has been a wonderful chance gain skills such as data analysis, communication and just knowing what it’s like in a the working environment of a charity. 

'It has been invaluable to have a long-term volunteering placement as I’ve been able to use it to strengthen university applications and most importantly, develop vital skills.'

What is your volunteer role? What is a typical day?

My official title is a research and support volunteer and I work within the volunteering team at Edward Rudolf House. I come in for three hours every fortnight and I pretty much do something different every time I come in, and it’s really good to be able to work on a range of projects and tasks. Generally, I first catch up on what has been happening in the charity since I last came in, via emails, the Intranet and my team. My volunteer manager then lets me know what I’ll be working on and briefs me on what I need to do, and I also get quite a lot of input into what I’d like to do more (or less) of in terms of the type of tasks I’m doing.

What has been your favourite experience of your volunteering?

I would say that my favourite part of volunteering has been working with the volunteering team as it’s really nice to work in the team and feel like my work is of some use. My favourite project has been to work on the analysis of the 2014 volunteers' survey, as it’s really interesting to read into the data, the reasons for these results, and what we can do as an organisation to provide any solutions to the results of the survey, and may be something that I’d like to do in a future job.

How has volunteering with us helped you with your goals for the future?

It has been invaluable to have a long-term volunteering placement (when I finish school I will have volunteered for 18 months) as I’ve been able to use it to strengthen university applications and job applications in the near future, and most importantly, develop vital skills such as working collaboratively, developing problem-solving skills and having more confidence in a work environment.

What would you say to young people who are interested in volunteering with us?

I would highly recommend it. I feel included in the volunteering team and feel like my input is valued.

The skills and experience you can get out of it is just brilliant, even if you can’t commit a huge amount of time. 

What would be your top tips to other young people to make the most out of their experience?

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions before your volunteering starts to know what you can expect, and do ask questions to your colleagues while volunteering, whether about the task in hand, future opportunities or projects, their job, careers or something else – they will be more than happy to help you out!
  2. Keep a diary or log of the work that you do each week so that you can look over it to look at the tasks you’ve done and the skills that you have developed, as after a while it can be easy to lose track!
  3. Be ready to be challenged! You may not have done a particular type of work before but there is no harm in giving it a go. And don’t worry too much about making mistakes!

 

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Find out more about volunteering opportunities with The Children's Society.

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