If you’re a student and haven’t heard of the Student Volunteering Network, then it might be time you got in the know. The 19th year of ‘Student Volunteering Week’ takes place from the 10th to the 16th February 2020 and it’s an excellent way for students to find out how to get involved with volunteering and discover the benefits to be gained.
Last year, students and staff from over 60 higher education establishments took part in over 300 events and even more are expected this year. You can see a full list of what’s taking place here. There are hundreds of events taking place throughout the UK, so there’s sure to be something near you.
Not only is student volunteering beneficial for your employability and sense of well-being, it’s also an opportunity to get involved with charity work and make a real contribution to your local community.
Student volunteering offers multiple career benefits
Student volunteering is a great way to meet people, find new interests, learn new skills and have some useful experience on your CV for when you’re looking for paid employment. Giving some of your time to a good cause isn’t just great for the people you help, it’s also good for your own well-being. Taking part in voluntary work can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide you with a real sense of purpose. What’s more, it can help you grow your confidence, as well as improve your social and interpersonal skills – all valuable skill sets you’ll use throughout life.
Voluntary work experience can give you a sense of pride, accomplishment and identity, making you feel more fulfilled and better about yourself. It’s also a good way to get out and about, and improve your general fitness.
Of course, most important of all, voluntary work is real-life work experience, giving you skills you can use when it comes to getting your first job. Many voluntary work placements come with vocational training in areas such as social care, working with the elderly, or working with children. Training costs and expenses are usually covered in return for your time and services. Depending on the voluntary work you do, you might even discover a new career choice you hadn’t thought of before.
Finding the right voluntary work placement for you
Like any work experience, you have to go into student volunteering with the right attitude to get the most from it. Don’t just apply for any voluntary work experience. Look for opportunities that interest you and could be useful in your choice of career.
There are many resources out there that can help you find the ideal voluntary work placement, such do.it.org, Volunteering England and Volunteering Matters. Look out for student volunteering opportunities where you can actively learn new skills and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
It’s a good idea not to over-commit at first. Start by giving just a little of time and if you feel you’re enjoying it, you can then commit more time and effort. Above all, go for it! Be enthusiastic and enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, you’ll be more employable and you might make some friends for life.
To find some voluntary opportunities right now, start with a simple search on Zoek UK.
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