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Volunteering experience can help job hunters, says PDSA
Volunteering is fun as well as helping to build skills
Statistics from one of the UK’s biggest charities have revealed that the skills people develop through volunteering can be a great way to secure a new job. Veterinary charity, PDSA, which has over 5,300 volunteers nationwide, has released encouraging figures that show 40%* of its former volunteers surveyed moved on because they found a job or went back into education, thanks to new skills they gained during their time with the charity.
In return for people donating their time, PDSA offers a comprehensive volunteer training programme covering all aspects of charity retail, to give volunteers the opportunity to develop new skills, enhance their CV, and stand out from the crowd in the challenging employment market-place.
Britain’s jobless figure currently stands at 2.63 million with over 1 million of the nation’s 16 to 24-year-olds being classed as NEETS (not in education or training). Finding the transition from education to employment problematic these young people appear, to employers, to lack the ‘soft skills’/ social skills and experience most require even in a first job. PDSA says volunteering offers people of all ages a great opportunity to broaden their skills and enhance their CV. Experience as a volunteer can also help candidates stand out from the crowd and appeal to employers.
To mark National Volunteers’ Week 2012, PDSA is encouraging anyone interested in improving their employment prospects to give volunteering a try at their local store.
PDSA Head of Volunteering Janet Compton said: “Volunteers play an absolutely crucial role in helping PDSA to raise money to care for the sick and injured pets of people in need. And we need volunteers more than ever as demand for our veterinary services has increased due to the dire economic situation.
Volunteer David Flynn (27), a Zoology graduate, said PDSA was his first choice when he decided to start volunteering last year after completing his course. He had seen how valued the charity’s veterinary service was in Northern Ireland, and wanted to be part of a ‘noble cause’ while he looked for full time job over the coming months. David has now gained a full-time retail position where he is able to use the skills he gained as a PDSA volunteer at the Lisburn store.
David says: “The retail environment was a new experience for me but I enjoy meeting people and I learnt something new all the time. Although I now have a job I still volunteer at the shop every other Saturday as everyone I meet is so nice and I just love it. I’d say anyone thinking of volunteering should give it a shot – the skills I learned as a PDSA volunteer by completing their retail training programme certainly helped me secure a full-time job.”
Alex Davies, Project Manager at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which supports PDSA’s volunteering programme said: “PDSA’s Retail Training offers young people a superb introduction to charity retailing. Certificates are presented as they complete each module giving student’s tangible proof of their achievement and something to show to prospective employers, which is so important.”
There are many volunteering roles available at PDSA, and no previous experience is required. Anyone 14 and over can volunteer. Hours are flexible and can be fitted around prior commitments.
“National Volunteers’ Week gives PDSA the perfect opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ to all its volunteers and encourages more people to give volunteering a try” concludes Janet. “Not only is it rewarding to know you’re helping a good cause, it’s a great way to meet people, learn new skills, even help get you on the career path of your dreams, as well as being fun! If that’s not something to celebrate, we don’t know what is.”
To find out how you can support PDSA and try volunteering during National Volunteers’ Week, please call freephone 0800 854 194 today or visit www.pdsa.org/volunteersweek
PDSA celebrates National Volunteers' Week to thank its volunteers for their support