Volunteering - build your experience!
Volunteering is the most effective way to build work experience whilst supporting a cause that you love.
"Volunteering can make you stand out from a pile of applications. When I see that a candidate has undertaken volunteer with young people, it demonstrates dedication to their professional development and shows that they are genuinely committed to the cause regardless of monetary reward."
Volunteering helps you improve your career prospects and take your first steps into paid work: and you’ll also benefit from the feel-good factor of helping others, boosting your confidence and gaining valuable new skills and experiences. Show your commitment to joining the world of work by volunteering – the volunteering you do does not need to be linked to the career you intend to go in to. Any volunteering will earn you transferable and soft skills such as:
Organisation and Time Management
These skills are invaluable no matter what career you hope to go in to. The first step towards employment is the hardest – with no recent work experience, only 30% of our students get into work, compared to 80% of those with recent work experience. Work experience includes unpaid volunteering!
"When I’m interviewing, I'm always looking for well-rounded individuals. That means a passion for work, but also for the community where they live. The volunteering that candidates get involved in reveals a lot about how they are likely to perform in the work place, supporting others and improving society. Interviewers will always focus on career gaps in a CV, but if a candidate has done some volunteering during this time, this demonstrates they are still focussed on their own development and achieving their next step."
Volunteering can also improve your overall wellbeing and self-esteem. According to NHS Choices, "acts such as volunteering can improve your mental wellbeing", and 40 different studies over the past 20 years have indicated that giving to others can lead to lower levels of depression.
You can start by applying for volunteering opportunities using websites such as charityjob.co.uk or popping in to your local charity shops to ask if they need any volunteers. We will also be sending alerts to ELATT students and alumni when any great opportunities crop up!
Please let your tutor know you are doing volunteering and keep them updated on your progress.
Once you have completed at least a month of volunteering, we will add you to our group of students in consideration work placement opportunities with our industry partners whenever they arise.
Write up a CV and hand it out locally - charity shops, libraries, hospitals and colleges might all be looking for volunteers. Make sure your CV has your contact details on so they can get in touch if any opportunities arise. And of course, let your tutor know that you are looking in case we can help you with a placement at ELATT! There are plenty of websites that make it really quick and easy to find volunteering opportunities, such as:
the busiest site for UK charity jobs and volunteering opportunities, this website offers a wide range of roles, you can browse or search by keyword and postcode
Sign up to the UK's national volunteering database for free, join a local 'Team', search and apply online for opportunities in your area - there are over a million roles, and someone finds a volunteering role via this website every 45 seconds! It also has a helpful dashboard feature which allows you to log your volunteering hours and build a Volunteering CV
This is the governments Volunteering hub, where they post hundreds of volunteering opportunties from pre-approved organisations. They have both on-going and one off roles. You can filter by cause, location or charity
"During my time at ELATT I secured two work placements where I learnt extensive skills in the business administration sector and also how to be part of a working environment, which I lacked experience in until now. I also achieved multiple qualifications as well as gaining experience that will help me in the future. ELATT is so different from other training facilities I have been to - full of great staff, wonderful teachers and happy students!"
"Volunteering is a great way to gain practical experience and could make you more desirable to a prospective employer. It can give you many practical skills and can give you experience of many essential work place activities such as communication, team work and using your own initiative. Volunteering can open up many doors and opportunities."
Grace Chambers | Owner/CEO of Loriamah Grace Childcare agency
"Volunteering can be an incredibly useful way to build the necessary skills for the workplace, and innovative technical organisations like Sopra Steria are no exception. Candidates that have volunteering experience are often able to demonstrate a high degree of self-motivation, are often self-starters, and are capable of working in challenging environments where teamwork and a dynamic and flexible attitude to work is be essential. These are all core skills for anybody looking to work in a fast-paced and challenging industry such as ours. As important as this is the innate compassion and empathy that volunteers possess. We want to build digital solutions that change people’s lives for the better, and we need people that understand that the need of the human is the most vital component in the design equation."
Ben Park | Director of intelligent Design (AI), Sopra Steria