How can volunteering as a young person benefit both you and the community? Read our interview with a 17-year-old volunteer to find out what it’s like to get involved.
Q) Why did you decide you wanted to volunteer?
I partly wanted to get work experience. I’m 17 and you hear so much about the job market being saturated: I wanted to have something to put on my CV! But I also wanted to do something that wasn’t just about academics or working for myself; I wanted to do something for other people.
Q) Was there a lot of choice of volunteer roles or did you have a specific idea in mind?
I was looking for any type of charity. But I wasn’t looking for a shop role; as I board at school I wouldn’t have had a lot of time at weekends to work. I was hoping for some sort of administrative work which would be good experience for working in policy/in an office in the future.
Q) Were there any difficulties or barriers to finding a volunteer role?
Some were restricted to over-18s but I was accepted into my current role.
Q) Was it easy to apply, what did you have to do?
Yes! I was concerned I’d be rejected because of my age so I included a message about my past experience. The charity’s founder called me a few days later and asked me why I wanted to work for the company, then accepted me in the same call. I had to provide references and sign a non-disclosure agreement but that was relatively easy.
Q) What have been the best bits about volunteering so far?
I feel like I’m working for something that benefits other people. I have a personal connection to supported housing for people with mental illness, as my Aunt has schizophrenia, so it feels very rewarding. I’ve also liked meeting new people, who have all been lovely and so kind given I’m much younger than many of the other volunteers.
Q) Was it helpful to you using the Volunteer Service/the Volunteer First website and would you recommend them to others?
Definitely! I wouldn’t have found my current job otherwise.