As part of our volunteer celebrations the #KentFAThanksU campaign has teamed up with a number of organisations to help support Kent clubs and leagues.
In today’s feature we spoke to Caroline Demetriou, Student Volunteering and Opportunities Coordinator at Canterbury Christ Church University.
What does your role as Student Volunteering and Opportunities Coordinator include?
My role as Student Volunteering and Opportunities Coordinator includes running the volunteering brokerage here at the University. We have a website, which we update with volunteering organisations and the roles that they offer, we also have a news blog and offer training around volunteering. We also run an award scheme here at the University called Christ Church Extra Award. To achieve this award, students must complete some volunteering, attend developmental workshops and then demonstrate the skills that they have developed through the volunteering and workshops. Our department is also responsible for any extracurricular activity that goes on the students Higher Education Achievement Record, the HEAR (previously called the degree transcript) which is to demonstrate additional skills that students have gained whilst at University, but not to do with their degrees, which makes them more employable.
Is this a role that all universities have?
The majority of Universities have a similar role, some run through the Students Union and some through the main University (Ours is through the University). Every University can decide the extracurricular activities that go on the HEAR, some only have an award, others allow additional things such as Volunteering, Peer Mentoring, Course Reps and Committee roles in Sports Clubs and Societies to give you a few examples. Sports Committee roles are a huge part of volunteering here at our University, however, it is very difficult to get the students to appreciate that what they are doing is volunteering as most of them do it purely for the love of their particular sport. They don’t realise the kinds of skills that they are learning whilst carrying out these roles and how transferable they will be when they go into the world of work. It is part of our job to show them how valuable this experience is.
Can organisations such as clubs and leagues advertise volunteer vacancies via the University?
Organisations can advertise their roles through our website (www.canterburyvolunteering.org.uk) and through our social media and screens in the university. We also have a Role of Week feature as well to enhance interest in certain roles.
How does volunteering benefit young people?
Volunteering is one of the most valuable things that young people can do. It not only increases their awareness of needs in the community but when volunteering their confidence increases, they gain valuable skills such as team work, time-management, better communication, inter-cultural awareness, better emotional intelligence and better self-awareness. These skills will not only make them more employable, they will make them better employees and more likely to progress in their chosen careers.
Does volunteering help young people find employment?
We don’t have any hard and fast stats on how much volunteering increases employability at the moment, but we have lots of examples of students gaining roles based on their volunteering, for example, one of our media students volunteered with a local radio station, became station manager and is now working as a producer for Channel Four. Another example is one of the Sports Clubs Chairman who used his role and the skills he had learned whilst chairman in his presentation for a graduate position at DHL, he not only got the job but has been promoted twice in 3 years. When recruiting within the University, we look at the whole person and volunteering gives a good idea of how a person will fit within a team. We currently have an ex Rugby Club Chairman from this University working within our team, and he credits the skills gained whilst chairing the club for gaining his role here. We use a lot of quotes from companies to encourage students to volunteer, companies like HSBC, Waitrose, Microsoft. A particular quote from Endsleigh shows that sports volunteering in particular is valued “some of our most successful employees have captained a sports team or been president within the students union” Katy Smith, resourcing partner, Endsleigh Insurance Services.
Get your club and league involved
If you’re a member of a local football club or league, then you’ll know how valuable volunteers are.
#KentFAThanksU is your chance to celebrate and show your appreciation for those volunteers that make the game in your area possible for so many. We have launched a toolkit full of useful resources so clubs and leagues can make the most of the campaign by clicking here.
For more details
For more details of how your club and league can get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook.