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Student voice: the value of volunteering

03 June 2024

Over the past couple of years, I have had many volunteering opportunities with several organisations, driven by my own individual interests and passions. It has ranged from cooking for the homeless after school with my friends, to volunteering as a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer with the Army Cadet Force.

Organisations that I’ve volunteered with, and recommend, are:

  • The Hope Collective
  • STEM Learning
  • National Citizen Service (NCS) Trust
  • YMCA (local – mine being Worcestershire)
  • Cadet Forces
  • Local library
  • Youth Employment UK

Across these opportunities, my efforts focus on supporting and developing young people as well as bettering the local community. That’s because I’ve always felt very strongly about giving back and doing good for the community I’m a part of. I strongly believe that everyone has something to offer, not for their own benefit, but rather the benefit of others. Some like to see it as building good karma, but I like to see it as ‘what goes around comes around’. The people you have an impact on today may be people that offer you support when you need it.

When considering what you can offer, it’s important to think about your own wellbeing. It's important that the things you commit to in your life don’t take up your own personal time to relax and socialise. For students, a weekday morning or evening once a week works well. And remember, you are a volunteer, and it’s okay to change your mind when you feel it is necessary.

Volunteering has offered me, above all else, life experience. A wealth of stories to think back on and build myself as a well-rounded person. But on top of that, volunteering has allowed me to focus on certain skills such as communication, event management, resilience, time management and so much more.

Having diverse and varying experiences helps to build a person’s perspective, and meeting so many diverse people from all backgrounds and areas of life has created a wider outlook on my own actions and goals.

Some opportunities offer amazing benefits, such as the Cadet Forces which utilise the Cadet Vocational College to provide Cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers with real-world qualifications. For example, I have completed a Level 3 Leadership and Management course with the Institute of Leadership and Management for free.

On top of that, these volunteering experiences have built my confidence in my own ability and have demonstrated to employers that I’m very committed and experienced. My greatest example was getting to work in a cyber security role with no experience or qualifications, apart from my experiences with volunteering – my employer was impressed and interested in the stories I had to share.

It’s super easy for students, and everyone, to get involved. Start with some of the places I mentioned in this blog, but also look at websites like:

Harrison Ricketts studied a Level 3 BTEC in computing at the Heart of Worcestershire College, working closely with student engagement and college governors alongside his studies.