I started volunteering so that I would be able to develop the skills I need to get a job. My life had already been changed because of an illness and I was unsure of what I wanted to do for a living, so I looked online, and came across my local volunteer centre’s website who had many voluntary roles advertised on their site including their own. I didn’t want to travel far because of my illness and applied directly to the volunteer centre.
When I started volunteering I felt out of place because I didn’t know what to expect, as far as I was concerned I was going into the unknown and it bothered me. The staff were friendly, the environment wasn’t extremely busy, but it was something to do that kept my eyes off my situation. The role wasn’t glamorous, nor was it what I envisioned for myself as a career, and I was the youngest of the mixed age team, with not much life experience I was determined to adapt to my new surroundings and do the best that I could in my new position. I was providing reception and administrative support to the volunteering team, what I enjoyed the most about my work was the variety of tasks that I was given. From answering customer enquiries by email, face to face and on the phone to training new volunteers. I also had the opportunity to try out another voluntary role with the volunteer centre as an advisor, giving advice and information about how to get into volunteering to individuals who needed help to find work experience or just to do something with their time. Most individuals that I had met had personal reasons for wanting to volunteer, some had specific interests, for instance, they wanted to volunteer with the elderly or with children.
The best thing about my volunteering experience was working directly with people and being able to find out what their queries were and how they could be resolved. I loved hearing thank you and seeing the smiles once I had dealt with their enquiries. How amazing is that! I worked with a variety of people who I thought I’d never meet, although there were challenging times I wouldn’t change anything about my experience.
Volunteering has boosted my self-confidence and helped me to improve on existing skills and gain new ones which are great for my CV. After being in this role for some time, my aim was to use this experience to get a job in administration. I have decided not to do this as I want to explore other areas, but I am still happy that I had the opportunity to gain such valuable experience and be a part of the laughter at morning and afternoon break – tea time. I enjoyed being a part of a mixed age team as all ideas are valued and everyone was made to feel welcome. If there was anything that I didn’t know, there was always someone around to help me when if I needed it.
If there is anybody who is unsure about what do for a living, I would say give volunteering a try you might just like it.