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Volunteering experience: ensuring your efforts pay off

Opportunities for English students to gain work-based experience

The University of Northampton Community Volunteers (UNCV) offer opportunities for volunteering. The following are some examples:

Teaching/Educational Volunteering

Media and Communications related volunteering

How to make your volunteering 'pay'

Volunteering is work experience with the extra advantage that it demonstrates initiative and commitment, and in addition can give focus and direction to career planning. It can provide the experiences and demonstrate the skills that employers seek - recent research amongst graduate employers (Strategis 2004) shows that a proactive approach to personal development is a crucial factor in graduate career success.

'Volunteering has given me a realistic insight into an organisation I hope to work with.'

To reinforce the benefits of volunteering try using this web resource alongside NUPAD materials on the web (Personal Development Planning at The University of Northampton) - designed to encourage reflection on developing skills and planning towards future goals.

Reflection is an essential skill for professional practice in most workplace environments. So, to make your volunteering 'pay' and extract all the benefits for your future, you should keep detailed notes on the situations and challenges you experience.

Question mark iconTake a moment to think back to a month ago:

Can you remember all the different activities you have been involved in since then?

Can you remember how you felt about those experiences, and perhaps what you might do differently another time?

'CV tip here!'Keeping track of your progress on paper will provide an invaluable resource for self-presentation in job applications. As you practice articulating what and how you have learnt during your voluntary activities you will build examples to use on forms, in your CV, and at interviews. It's also a habit you will need for continuing professional development in your career!

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