Next week is Student Volunteering Week 2012. Far too often the media focuses on young people who don’t contribute to society, ignoring the vast vast majority who do. So without further ado, over to a fantastic student volunteer…
Hi there, tell us about yourself
My name is Josephine Ogren and I’m from Sweden. In June 2011, I graduated from the International English School in Stockholm, Sweden and decided to take a break from school and get some practical work experience and develop my skills. Due to my passion of travelling, I chose to come to London.
Living as a young person in London is usually about having fun – how did volunteering get on the agenda?!
In Sweden, volunteering is not very common. People don’t seem to have the same connection to the community as in the Jewish Community here in London. I’ve always been interested in how it feels to make a difference to someone or something whilst benefiting from it myself. So I decided to get involved in volunteering as I knew I didn’t have yet the skills and experience required to get a good job.
Tell us a bit about what you did
I volunteered for four months in the Volunteers & Community Development Department at Jewish Care. I gained a variety of useful skills including office skills and knowledge of volunteer management, which enabled me to do the job that I have today.
What job is that?
In October 2011, I applied for the role of ‘Apprentice Youth Placement Officer’ within theVolunteers Department working with young people and schools, colleges, universities and youth movements The apprenticeship allows you to work AND study towards receiving a QCF (previously NVQ) qualification in Business andAdministration set at Level 2 and I begin Level 3 in April. So I get to study for my apprenticeship and earn some money – the best of both worlds!
Fantastic. So volunteering has helped you in lots of ways
Volunteering has benefited me both personally and socially. This experience has helped me mature, build more confidence and self-esteem and a new social network. I’ve grown as a person, feel I can take on more responsibility and have gained independence.
What is the best part of volunteering?
I think it was a sense of belonging and being part of a team who offer volunteer opportunities to young people in the community. It gave me a sense of pride and joy knowing that I was contributing to my team and the organisation each day. I felt valued and appreciated as a volunteer and now as a staff member.
What would you say to other young people – students or not – about volunteering?
Deciding to volunteer was the best choice in life I took since I graduated high school in Sweden. You give AND you get something back. Not only do charities rely on its volunteers and couldn’t survive without them, as a young volunteer you benefit from practical experience. A win for everyone.