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Give your time, get so much in return
It’ll help you to learn new skills and will put you in a better position when applying for jobs. These days, employers are looking for people who can show that they have more to give than just qualifications and volunteering can give your career prospects a real boost.
Our students choose to volunteer for a number of reasons. Some want to gain hands-on experience in an industry they would like to work in. Others choose to volunteer in something that they just feel passionate about. Either way, it’s an experience which will give you more to add to your CV and more to talk about at interview.
At Gateshead College, we are always looking for great opportunities to give you the chance to get involved and these range from everything from opportunities within the NHS, law firms, retail, museums, sports and catering right through to events and festivals. For example, during 2015, many of our students got involved in the BBC6 Music Festival throughout Newcastle and Gateshead getting the opportunity to work with crew, producers and musicians.
By volunteering, you will make a real difference to the organisation you’re volunteering for, but you will also gain a whole lot too.
"Many of our volunteers have found that through their time with us, they have learnt skills and grown confidence that has helped them to gain employment. Some of our volunteers have gone on to gain employment within the cultural sector at a later date."
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Applying for a volunteering opportunity should be approached in exactly the same way as you would if you were applying for a job. Make sure that your CV or application form is up to date and shows the company why you want to get involved. If you need help, why not check out our CV writing tips or interview techniques pages.
"My BBC radio 6 voluntary work gave me a major insight to 'behind the scenes' of the industry. Events like this are great opportunity for advancing your knowledge - recognise that networking is an essential element of this industry, it's often not what you know but who you know. "
So you’ve secured a volunteer opportunity, how do you make the most of it? Our Placement Officer, Jill Lister, tells us her Top Tips for getting the most out of the opportunity.
Many opportunities will request you attend a briefing or send you information in advance. Make sure you do attend or read what they send and, most importantly, make sure that you write down the contact details that you’ll need on the day incase you need to get in touch.
You may not be paid to be there but the organisation is relying on you. If you can’t make it, let the contact person know in advance so that they can make alternative arrangements. The same applies if you’re going to be late - make sure you call and let them know.
Make sure you know exactly where you need to be and work out how long it will take you so you’re not rushing at the last minute.
Introduce yourself to your contact and ask what they’d like you to do. You want to leave an impression so they’ll think of you in the future if other opportunities come up.
If you’re overwhelmed or not sure what to do, then speak up. This is your opportunity to learn from your experience so if you need some help let someone know.
Once the day is over, don’t just shoot off. Make sure you say goodbye and thank your contact.
vInspired is the UK' leading youth volunteering charity providing opportunities to gain new experiences and skills.
This UK site lets you search voluntary positions throughout the local area, ranging from a few hours to regular volun...
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