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Volunteering Opportunities

Many organisations and charities welcome volunteers of all ages, both in the UK and abroad and you will probably be surprised at the number and wide variety of voluntary opportunities available whatever your skills.

Why volunteer?

Some people don’t like the idea of volunteering, I’m not sure why. Over the years while bringing up our family I have held several voluntary roles, one of which led directly to a paid part-time job. I have always found it very rewarding and get the same feedback when I talk to others in similar situations.

Will it affect claiming benefits?

The answer is no it won’t affect your benefits, as long as you can still show the Jobcentre (if you’re on job seekers allowance) that you are still actively seeking paid employment.

How will you benefit from volunteering?:

  • Keeps you active and helps boost your morale and confidence.
  • Keeps your skills going and learn new ones.
  • Make a difference somewhere.
  • An excellent addition to your CV – could fill an otherwise empty gap and/or add current work to your CV.

The last bullet point is one that many candidates don’t consider and volunteering is particularly worthwhile to do while you are looking for paid work, even if it’s only part-time. Voluntary work is just as important to add to your CV as paid work, but as a CV Writer I’m often asked, “should I add this”, and the answer is “certainly yes”.  Maybe its just because it’s not paid work.

Example

Here’s a good example of a young lady whose dedication to voluntary work led to full-time employment, doing what she loves:

Lucie was a Senior Yard hand at a local horse rescue centre and had worked there part-time since she was 11, starting as a volunteer. When she first joined the team she was just worked on Sundays, then built up to every weekend and school holidays when she could.

When she was 14 circumstances changed significantly and her parents decided to choose home education for her. As her voluntary work was such an enjoyable and significant part of her life already, her parents and the horse rescue centre agreed that her education could continue there. So she focussed on her voluntary work, getting more involved by taking part when the vet or dentist called and doing training courses paid for by the centre. As soon as a part-time vacancy became available she applied, immediately got the job and started to enjoy getting paid, having already become a valuable member of the team. A couple of years later she was offered a full-time position and promotion, which she took without hesitation and was often deputising for the Manager.

Lucie said : “I have always loved animals, especially horses, so I was keen to apply to volunteer at the centre. Being local made it easy and I loved it right from the start, despite being hard work often in bad weather.

One of our volunteers also breaks in horses and I was chosen to ‘back’ them. This requires patience and determination and can be quite a challenge, as you never know how a horse is going to react. I also supervise the childrens’ riding sessions on open days during the spring and summer.

I want to continue in a similar career and so far my volunteering experience has proved a successful route to a job that I love. I would recommend it to anyone.”

Where can You sign up for voluntary work?

If you have access to the internet go onto the Do It website where you will find hundreds of volunteering opportunities and you can register for opportuity alerts.

If you don’t have access or you’re not comfortable with using a computer, visit the Uckfield Volunteer Centre where the staff will show you how to search for voluntary opportunities. Also, if you’re not confident your CV is good enough, you can get a CV review done, for a small donation. If your CV needs more attention we can help with a full CV writing service.

Article by Sue Edwards, CV Writer at Premium CVs.