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Volunteering

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Volunteering isn’t just about the ‘feel good’ factor of helping other people. Here are ten good reasons for getting into volunteering.

  1. It’s a great way to meet people and make new friends.
  2. You’ll learn new skills – teamwork, working with others and communication.
  3. It makes a positive impact on other people’s lives.
  4. You can build on the things you’re good at, from sport to listening to others.
  5. You can get loads of valuable experience.
  6. It looks good on your CV, and college or UCAS applications.
  7. It can be great fun.
  8. You get the chance to learn about yourself – what you want out of life, and work.
  9. Trying something new is a great confidence booster.
  10. Helping other people really does feel good.

Who can get involved?

People of all ages take part in volunteering. It’s not just for gap year students! So why not put all that youth, energy and enthusiasm into something really worthwhile? According to Volunteer Scotland, over 52% of 11-18 year olds they interviewed have volunteered in their spare time. This is nearly double the rate of the adult figure which currently stands at 28%.

Volunteering may have some restrictions, but you can check these out with your local volunteer centre. The main restrictions apply when the organisation you’d like to volunteer for doesn’t have insurance covering people under 18, or it may simply be due to the type of volunteering opportunity.

How to get started?

If you’d like to find out more, go to the Volunteer Scotland website. It’s a great source of information and advice, including case studies of volunteers and an infographics section. Jasmine’s Story (http://www.volunteerscotland.net/media/276982/jasmine.pdf) is particularly useful for young people interested in volunteering.

You can use the ‘Volunteer, Need Help? Find support locally’ page to find out about your local Volunteer Centre and arrange to speak to a volunteer development adviser. There are 32 local centres across Scotland.

They won’t expect you to volunteer on the spot! Before you get started you’ll need to talk about what’s involved in volunteering, what opportunities are available in your area, and what you want to get out of the experience.

What could you do?

There are lots of different types of volunteering opportunities, from helping out at local sports clubs or drama groups to getting involved in conservation and community projects.

Browse through the opportunities available on Volunteer Scotland, and the other useful websites we’ve listed, to get a better idea of the huge range of placements. 

What can I do to help me decide what sort of placement will suit me best?

Think carefully about what will suit you best. How can you make the best use of your current interests, personal qualities, values and skills?  If you’re not sure what these are, try doing the four related interactive self-assessments in the Portfolio area of Planit.

Want more information and advice?

Here are some useful sources:

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