VolunteeringPosted: 2nd of December 2015 by Laurie McLoughlin
So you’ve finished school and now you can look forward to some free time to plan your future. What do you do now? You may want to go on a Gap Year – which is not exclusive to those heading off to University afterwards – or maybe you just want to boost your soft skills and experiences before you take the next step to becoming a fully functioning adult.
A great way to get a taste of the world of work is through volunteering. You can volunteer in practically any field and the best part is that volunteering makes your CV sparkle. If you know what you want to do for your career, that’s great! Take some time to research volunteer/work experience opportunities in that area so that when it comes to your first real job, you’ll have the skills and know-how to blow your employer’s mind!
Boost your Soft Skills by Volunteering
If you have no idea what you want to do for your career, don’t panic! There is no written law that says you should know what you want to do for the rest of your life by the time you’re 18 years old! In fact, volunteering in your gap year may be the answer as many volunteers find their passions this way. Take a look at opportunities you can see yourself enjoying – if you like animals, see if you can volunteer at a local shelter. You may not want to be a Veterinarian, but shelter workers develop great communication skills and have a lot of responsibility. Volunteering allows you to develop what Employers call “soft skills” which you can then take to any job you apply for.
So, to recap, if you’re interested in volunteering for a sector you would like to work for in the future, check a few company websites to see if work experience placements are available. If there aren’t, a Google search is usually your best friend. If you’re interested in volunteering for any sector to help you find your passion, think about what you would like to do and what you would be good at to find a great opportunity which will help you develop important skills and qualities.
If you’re looking for one place where lots of volunteering opportunities are available, you don’t have to go far! Not Going To Uni have an amazing page filled with fantastic opportunities, so if volunteering is on your to-do list, visit the NGTU vacancy page now.
The National Careers Service Inspiration Agenda in London are currently working with Tearfund, who provide fantastic volunteer placements in some of the poorest communities in the world. Tearfund ICS is a 12 week once in a life time government-funded volunteer placement for 18-25 year old volunteers that provides the opportunity to work alongside in country volunteers in Africa or Asia to make a difference in local communities in some of the poorest places in the world. The programme is also open to 23-35 year olds who would like to volunteer as Group Leaders for the younger volunteers. For more information on Tearfund, please visit the website: www.tearfund.org/ics
You can use the National Careers Service website or the Not Going to Uni website to find lots of information on Gap Years and volunteering. Some other great websites include:
Do-it - https://do-it.org/
vInspired - https://vinspired.com/
Volunteer Team London - http://volunteerteam.london.gov.uk/
National Citizen Service - http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/
Volunteer London - http://volunteerteam.london.gov.uk/
Season Workers - https://www.seasonworkers.com/
Bell Worldwide - www.bell-worldwide.com
In2Action - www.in2action.co.uk
Student Job - www.studentjob.co.uk
If you’re still not sure and would like some more information about the importance of volunteering, check out the following National Careers Service articles:
Think Before Volunteer: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/getajob/workexperience/Pages/think.aspx
The National Careers Service also has a real-life case study of a Gap Year student and her story:
Around 23m people volunteer at least once a year in the UK. Will you be one of them?
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