Volunteer your way into work

First published in Business

PEOPLE struggling with unemployment can try volunteering to get themselves back into work.

A report carried out on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills showed 88 per cent of people looking for work believed volunteering would help them to secure paid work and 41 per cent of those who did find a job said volunteering helped them get it.

Volunteer Centre Wiltshire, which is run by Develop Enhancing Community Support, helps find volunteering opportunities for potential volunteers.

On average it places about 26 people each month.

Taking on volunteer work can help people not only develop new skills and demonstrate commitment to potential employers but also help in developing social and personal skills, which boosts confidence.

Rachel Nouch, who now works for Develop, an independent charity which supports and develops voluntary and community action across Wiltshire, began volunteering for the organisation because she had been out of work for a few months and wasn’t sure about what she wanted to do next. With professional HR skills she thought she would have something to offer a voluntary organisation.

While volunteering she saw a job advert and decided to apply for the role of volunteering advisor, while continuing with her voluntary work. As the organisation grew there was a need for a permanent HR role and in September 2011 she became the HR manager at Develop. She also learnt new IT skills while volunteering.

Simone Lord, volunteer centre manager, said: “Our aim is to offer help and information to individuals across Wiltshire and helping to match these people to suitable placements. This is always rewarding and especially so when the volunteering role can have such a huge positive impact on the person’s life.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the centre on 0845 521 6224 or go to volunteercentrewiltshire.org.uk.


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