Category Archives: Employability Points

Why volunteer?

As a current student or a recent graduate, I’m sure you have heard all too many times the key to getting a graduate job is ‘experience, experience, experience’. But with the pressures and demands of life, balancing a part time job, exam preparation, essay deadlines and of course a social life, it may seem as though you have no time to fit this in. However, if you can find the time, even if it were just a couple of hours a week, it would help to raise your graduate profile and develop your transferable skills. One way to do this is through volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and skills, helping you to stand out to recruiters in a competitive job market.

So, why volunteer?

1) You can fit volunteering around your schedule, committing to just a few hours out of your day. This is your time you are investing in volunteering, so make sure it not only works for them but for you too.

2) There are many opportunities out there, all you have to do is look! If there is a specific career path you are interested in taking, volunteering is a perfect way to test it out. For example, if you would like to work as a journalist try contacting your local news offices for work experience. You can also browse voluntary vacancies through Kent Union and the Careers Vacancy Database .

You can also volunteer through a society, opportunities include first aid, homeless outreach, fundraising and volunteering with children.

3) It’s a great way to network and gain valuable contacts.

4) It will enhance your CV, contributing to your personal development, whilst giving you the chance to do something you care about.

5) You can get involved in the local community, supporting projects which benefit individuals, the community and environment.

6) You can explore different career paths and work with people from different backgrounds.

Remember …

Check if the opportunity covers out-of-pocket expenses, it shouldn’t cost you to volunteer.

If you have undertaken an unpaid work placement, you may be eligible for a B:KEW bursary.

If you do take on voluntary work, log your hours on the Kent Union’s Toolkit and you may achieve an award through the Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering.

Deadline for Prizes Approaching….

Are you a SPIR student in need of some advice on which of our amazing rewards to apply for? Then why not have a look at which rewards were popular with your school last year?

Remember to think outside the box! In 2017, SPIR students applied for a whole host of exciting rewards, across a wide variety of sectors.

The Charity Sector:

Two SPIR students undertook work experience with People United, a charity which uses creativity to promote a sense of community. Kate Lyden found this experience particularly relevant as she hopes to have a career in the charity sector. Alex Frampton, on the other hand, is interested in a career in politics, but found the placement valuable in gaining some transferable skills. Duties included running a social media ‘kindness’ campaign, and working on a database of guests for an event held at the Tate Modern.

See the full case study here.

The Civil Service:

Rhys Brown completed a 2-day work shadowing placement at the Ministry of Justice with Civil Service Fast Stream. This focused on current work revolving around prison reform.

Rhys had this to say about the experience:

‘My two days experience with the Civil Service was a great opportunity, and I’ve now gained real motivation and drive to pursue this career path through the Civil Service’s fast stream program.’

See Rhys’s full case study here.

Research Placements:

William Keeling was thrilled with his placement with Convert Energy, a Canterbury-based renewable-energy company. William was tasked with reporting on potential projects and clients for Convert Energy to pursue. He was given the freedom to tackle the project in his own way and learnt about a sector he was unfamiliar with.

See William’s case study here.

Other rewards taken-up by SPIR students included (but were not limited to!) internships with Medway Council, a business planning internship with Smart Maritime Limited, and opportunities with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and FDM.

The good news is: many of these rewards are available this year! We have loads of amazing placements with councils including Sevenoaks Town CouncilKent County CouncilMedway CouncilCanterbury City Council and Shepway District Council. We have placements focusing on event planning (Canterbury Cathedral Lodge), environmental championing (Kent Enterprise Trust) and many more! If you need any further helping choosing the right reward for you, email the EP Team at: employabilitypoints@kent.ac.uk

Have a look at our full list of rewards here.

Don’t forget:

The deadline to log all of your points is March 19th at 5pm!