I first started volunteering when I was in Year 10 as part of my bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Little did I know that that it would shape so much of my future.
Since then, I have mentored four students, helping them to make clear and informed decisions about their future. A lot of people think being a mentor means helping someone else out with their development, but it’s great for your own development too. Having the opportunity to impart knowledge and share insights from my journey has proved rewarding and enriching. Distilling it down has also enhanced my communication skills and helped me to better understand the current educational system through the eyes of my mentees.
As the chair of the Brightside Youth Board, I have had the opportunity to develop my leadership skills. Having the opportunity to help organise the Youth Board speeches at the 20th anniversary gave me an insight into project management. As the chair, I help to steer the meetings and keep the conversation on track. Before my tenure as chair, I had not really taken on a role like this so attending and contributing to some of the youth voice committee events has pushed me out of my comfort zone. These meetings have deepened my understanding of the charity sector and spearheaded my professional and personal development.
As I embark on my next steps, my voluntary work across a range of sectors has given me unmatched insight into the world of work. It has also helped me to better identify my strengths and (my weaknesses!). Volunteering has also very much become the pillar of my CV and given me experiences that I can draw upon in applications and interviews.
It’s all helped me to build a network, connections, meet like-minded people and a make a difference.