Volunteering – Rob’s top tips

Volunteering opportunities are endless and giving up some of your own time to give something back to the community is a sure-fire way to stand out to employers, so here’s my advice on how to get started!

Think about what you want to do and why you want to do it before applying for the numerous positions available. Do you like the environment? Do you like working with children or the elderly? Do you want to meet new people or try something new?

Where can I volunteer?

Often carried out with charities and non-profit organisations, the work can also involve volunteering for schools, hospitals and community centres. Opportunities to volunteer are possible in most occupations. Bear in mind that some organisations will require experience, training or knowledge so conduct thorough research before applying.

Volunteer in the UK:

For international opportunities, take a look at:

Will I have time to volunteer?

Volunteering is usually carried out on a flexible basis in the local community in order to fit in around study and other commitments.

Overseas voluntary work can sometimes take weeks or months of continuous work to complete. It is very common for students and graduates to make a voluntary position the purpose of a gap year spent abroad, especially during or after study.

How do I apply?

Although the competition for places isn’t intense, you will still need to write a successful job application and attend an interview for most voluntary positions.

However, in the case of internships the competition can be fierce. Larger and higher profile charities may receive more voluntary support, so you should be prepared to be flexible in terms of which organisations you volunteer with. If you plan to work with children or elderly people, then you should also expect to go through security checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service.

How will volunteering help my career?

Voluntary work not only increases your personal development, for example your organisational skills and confidence, it also gives you the chance to contribute to something you care about. Voluntary work can stimulate ideas for more permanent positions, allow you to meet deadlines, work in a team and generally give you experience of working life.

It’s a good idea to reflect on and record your voluntary work with care and detail in order to be able to draw upon what you’ve learned at a later date and provide examples in interviews.

While often you will not receive any pay as a volunteer, in some cases you will have your expenses paid for such as travel and lunch. If you receive any benefits or payments from the state, you will need to seek advice about whether the position will effect these payments. As a volunteer, you may be asked to attend training courses and your point of contact – for example, your supervisor – may be able to act as a reference for future job applications.

As rewarding as volunteering can be, it does have its controversy. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) state that all volunteering work should complement the work of paid staff. Volunteering should not be used to replace or undermine staff pay and conditions.



careers fair 2016 outside CHEST jpeg

Students explore future careers

March 10th saw the return of the National Careers Fair at Reaseheath College, in conjunction with the biggest week for careers in the UK, National Careers Week. This year’s overarching theme was ‘future jobs’. The careers event saw a range of local and national employers engaging with students throughout the day, sharing lots of careers advice and guidance.

The event was held in our brand new National Centre for Horticulture, the Environment and Sustainable Technology (CHEST) and proved a great opportunity to showcase this state-of-the-art facility. Stall holders were impressed with number of students signing up for activities and volunteering opportunities and expressed their gratitude for students’ support.

Reaseheath Careers Fair has grown phenomenally over the last few years, progressing from four stalls of local employers in our main reception to nearly 40 stall holders, seeing almost 1,000 students participating in the event this year.

Thank you for all those who brought their students along!

Rob Icke

Careers Coordinator

careers fair 2016 outside CHEST jpeg


careers  fair 2016 jpeg

busy busy careers fair jpeg