Introduction: What is volunteering?
‘We define volunteering as any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives. Central to this definition is the fact that volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual.
This can include formal activity undertaken through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation and social action. Everyone has the right to volunteer and volunteering can have significant benefits for individuals.’ NCVO Website 2016 (Accessed July 2016)
Volunteering is a valuable way, not only to achieve personal development, but also to build the transferable and specific skills sought by employers.
The University values your contribution as a volunteer and through the Volunteer Award, Edge Hill seeks to reward your community involvement.
The award has been designed to allow you to log and reflect on the hours you spend volunteering. The award has three levels:
To achieve the Bronze award you should log 50 hours of volunteering.
For Silver, this is increased to 100 hours.
For Gold you would need to log 150 + hours of volunteering.
To receive the award you must also complete a short reflection and case study. If you would like to find out more please contact Volunteering Advisers using Ask A Question or complete the Registration Form to begin to record your hours.
Read how Rebecca completed her Gold award
Rebecca Robinson – Gold Level Volunteering Certificate
Yr 3 BA Early Years Education with QTS
During the summer holidays, I volunteered at Banana Moon, a private day nursery to improve the skills I will need for my future career as a primary school teacher.
The nursery provides care for 0-5 year old children, and I worked with a range of ages. Volunteering here helped me develop many skills including broad skills such as teamwork and communication, and more specific skills such as parental communication and the ability to assess children effectively. I have also gained great experience on applying play-based learning to everyday child education. I absolutely loved my role, especially on the day I got to take part in sensory play in the baby room.
I searched for this volunteering opportunity a I wanted a more specific role which related to my future career. I feel all students who have the time should take up a volunteering role as it shows increased and differentiated experience to employers helping you stand out from other applicants.
Emily completes her Silver award
Emily McKeown – Silver Level Volunteering Award,
Yr 3, BA Hons Teaching Learning and Development.
I volunteered at a local primary school to help be gain experience that will be crucial to succeed in my aim to become a primary school teacher.
I continued as a volunteer in the school that I had completed my work-based learning part of my degree. As a volunteer I experienced a number of different roles, including helping children in the classroom, and supporting the teachers with their work.
This opportunity will help my career in the future as I am able to see how different teachers plan and approach their lessons as well as observing the different roles which each individual staff member plays in the running of the school. I would recommend volunteering in a location which you want to work as an opportunity may arise where you’re able to apply for a job there and they have seen your personality which will help in the interview process.
I would recommend that students try to get as much experience as possible, volunteering is rewarding and I will be volunteering again as you gain so many different skills that can be applied to situations you are asked about at interview.
Lauren Woods achieves her Gold Award
Lauren Woods, Year 1 Marketing with Advertising student talks about her volunteering with the Mind Charity Shop in Ormskirk
I found out about Mind simply because they had a ‘Volunteers Wanted’ sign displayed on their window; and have volunteered regularly since that time.
During volunteering roles have included changing window displays, rotating stock as clothes can only be displayed for two weeks at a store and managing stock so that 100 other clothing items are displayed every day.
My role involved learning how to change the stock items around and replace out-dated clothes with the new donations. I also had to learn how to price new donations in order to, tag and put them on display. I am also currently learning how to use the till, open and close the shop.
This experience will help me succeed in my career, increasing my creativity in the window displays, including the seasonal displays that I have arranged in the window and across the shop floor. The experience ties in closely to my marketing and advertising as they both require strategic thinking and creativity.
I have gained a lot of experience from taking part in the volunteering, I have also picked up some new skills including communication, working on a till/ serving customers and stock rotation. I have also gained a sense of responsibility as I have been in charge of certain tasks, such as ensuring the window display is changed every Friday.
For anyone who is interested in volunteering at Mind or another charity shop my best advice would be just to enjoy it.
Lauren was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year and awarded Second Place at the 2017 Careers Awards. In her nomination the Mind Shop Manager commended Lauren as an outstanding volunteer who has proven her skills, both from her university course and previous employment, during her time at MIND. She has become a trusted key holder and holds the voluntary assistant manager role.
Lauren’s commitment and understanding of her role has brought more revenue and custom to Mind shop Ormskirk, which has been noticed by higher management, playing a vital role in helping MIND continue to give those with mental health illness the support they need.
Hennah Kauser – Gold Award
Hennah Kauser, Year 1 Teaching, Learning & Child Development student talks about achieving her Gold Award at the Spring Hill Community Primary School
I had found out about volunteering at the start of my degree course, and began to volunteer at the school to gain experience. Whilst volunteering I helped the school by working alongside teachers by preparing work, overseeing children whilst they carried out the work, filing and also carrying out my own phonics and guided reading group. My time spent as a volunteer has increased my confidence to confirm that teaching is the career I want to go in.
I also gained understanding of the tasks a teacher in a primary school has to carry out on a day to day basis. I also had the opportunity to observe the school’s behaviour policy and also on how lessons are carried out. I would advise other students (considering teaching) to volunteer at a primary school to gain an insight on what a practitioner in education does to confirm on whether or not teaching is the career they want to pursue.
How long do we have to complete the award?
The award is available to and should be completed by current EHU students. Regular, weekly volunteering should enable you to complete all levels of the award within an academic year; but you can choose to complete the award over one or more academic years.
Do I have to complete all three levels of the award?
To complete 150 hours required to complete all levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) of the award should be possible within 3 years; but you don’t have to commit to completing all of them. Each award stands alone and is recognised with an Edge Hill University certificate.
What the benefits of volunteering?
Can we use past volunteering experience towards the award?
Unfortunately as you are reflecting on your current volunteering for the Award, you cannot postdate for more than 1 month
How can I find a voluntary role that suits me?
The Volunteering Advisers, based in Edge Hill Works, in the Careers Centre, are there to support you in finding the perfect volunteering role for you. The first stop is our online vacancy system. You can browse through over a hundred opportunities within a 20 mile radius of the University. If you can’t find a role that interests you, why not book an appointment with one of our Volunteering Advisers to discuss , or email us through the website using the ‘Ask a Question’ option.
Can we use more than one organisation?
Yes, as long as you are a current volunteer you can use multiple organisations, including short term opportunities. Organisations should already be registered with our online vacancy system. If this is not the case, the Volunteering Advisers will contact them to arrange this. You are able to record volunteering with three organisations. We recommend that students carry out no more than a total of 16 hours p/w (paid or voluntary) to enable them to balance this with their studies. If you are volunteering for more than three organisations (within this recognised time frame) please contact Volunteering Advisers for advice on how to record information.
What kinds of roles count?
Any unpaid role in a charity, not-for profit or public sector organisation registered with our online vacancy service. Volunteering can take place within the university or the local community for example volunteering as a Peer Mentor in your department, or as a Student Representative with the Student’s Union can be included. If you have continued to volunteer with an organisation on completion of a placement, any hours above the placement requirement can also be considered. A volunteering role should not be a replacement for a previously paid role.
Can we use our placement hours?
You cannot use hours logged on an unpaid course placement as strictly speaking this is towards your degree rather taking place in your own time. However, if you were volunteering in this role prior to the placement, or have continued past the minimum commitment for your course you can then count these hours.
Can I complete the records electronically?
Yes via the following link
What do we receive upon completion?
You receive an Edge Hill University recognised certificate, which can be used on you C.V to quantify your commitment. You will also gain a greater understanding of employability and how the skills you gain can help you in your future career!
Can I use an overseas volunteering role?
Yes, if you are taking part in an international volunteering project, you can book the hours towards the award. You do however need to ensure that our Volunteering Advisers are provided with a contact at the organisation who can verify your volunteering. This is an exception to the rule as UK based volunteering organisations should be registered with our online vacancy service – however we cannot recommend or endorse any overseas organisation in particular. Please see the International Volunteering Handbook.
Can I still apply for the Excellence Scholarship or the Careers Volunteer of the Year Award?
You certainly can! As long as you are in your first or second year of study you can apply for an Excellence Scholarship
Current students in any year can also be nominated for the Edge Hill Careers Volunteer of the year Award.
When can I start?
You can begin the Award anytime during your degree. The sooner the better! Contact the Volunteering Advisers for more details.
If these FAQs do not answer your question, please contact the Volunteering Advisers via Ask a Question