Volunteering experiences

Following on from Alistair Stirling’s guest blog earlier this month, I want to talk about volunteering experiences.

I have found volunteering hugely useful and will relate that back to how that has helped me find my own career pathway. Then I will follow this with how you could research some opportunities yourself, to help you on your career journey.

My experience as a volunteer

Since October 2017 I have volunteered as a Next Steps mentor at the Prince’s Trust on its entrepreneurial scheme. This scheme is open to people aged 18 – 30 that are NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and it gives them support to set up their own business.

What I’ve learned from volunteering

From this experience I now know about setting up a business from scratch. While I was helping my mentees, I was going through the same process myself – setting up my own business. I was also given access to workshops that were offered to the mentees, examples include ‘Conversational sales’ and ‘Setting up a website and Search Engine Optimisation’.

How volunteering has influenced my own career decisions

As a direct influence of volunteering for the Prince’s Trust, I decided recently that I would carry on as a freelance careers consultant running my own business. It has taken away the mystery of what is involved in the process. It has also dispelled a myth that you need to invest lots of money in a small business before you can set it up.

How can you come up with a volunteering idea that will help your plans?

I would suggest jotting a few ideas down first of what you’d ideally like to do. You could use a mind-map to do this.

If you have lots of ideas, see if you are drawn to any particular one. Then turn to the internet and see what best matches your ideas.

I must also add, volunteering is enormously rewarding in itself and it’s been great to be able to give something back!

Good luck with this, and I’d be very interested in hearing about your stories of volunteering experiences and how they’ve helped you in your career plans.


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