Volunteering means sharing your time and skills to help someone. You are not paid for your time as a volunteer, but you may get money to cover expenses. This is usually limited to food, drink, travel or any equipment you need to buy.
You can volunteer at any point in your life, and it will bring great rewards to the people you are helping. Some volunteering roles may be an hour every week and others may be full time similar to a paid job. Others may just be to cover a one-off event or over a shorter period of time. It is up to you how much time you feel you are able to give.
If it is an area you want to work in later, it can help to know people already working in it. The people you meet will get to know who you are not just what you put on your application or CV.
You can learn and practice new work-based skills. This can give you more confidence. Including:
- Listening and speaking
- Good timekeeping
- Working as part of a team
You can also put these skills on college or work application forms and talk about your experiences of it at interviews. It can also count towards your Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Things to think about before volunteering include:
- Your age – some places may have a minimum age to volunteer for that cause.
- How much time you can commit?
- What are you hoping to achieve from taking part?
- What are your strengths? Sometimes it can be good to use the strengths you have to support the organisation or cause. It can also be good to challenge yourself a little!
- The people you will meet and how you will manage this. Is it ‘customer facing’ or will you be ‘behind the scenes?