Blog: Food Active’s top tips on successful volunteering

by Beth Bradshaw | 23 February, 2021 2:11 pm

Volunteering – it is an integral part of your university journey and can offer enormous personal and professional benefits.

Firstly, volunteering widens your social circle and is an opportunity to meet new people, potential new friends or future employers. It will also give you the chance to develop important workplace skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving and planning and if you haven’t had a full time job yet, relevant volunteer work can be a good talking point in a job interview to showcase your skills and experience. Volunteering is also important for you to see if a certain career path is right for you, and sometimes, that can only be realised through practical experience.

Even if you don’t secure a volunteer role at your chosen organisation, any volunteer work shows potential employers that you are hard-working and willing to give up your own time to help others – essential in the competitive working world we live in! Remember, a volunteer role doesn’t have to last for months – even just a week or two can be beneficial.

As part of your degree, you may be required, or want to, undertake a volunteering role. The Health Equalities Group have a long history of supporting students with placements and volunteering opportunities – so much so, three members of our current staff volunteered prior to securing a position at the organisation! Together the team has collated a list of top tips for securing relevant experience in your chosen field.

Top tips for securing a volunteering role or placement

 

Top tips on being a great volunteer

 

My journey from Volunteer to Project Support Officer

I was introduced to Food Active during second year of my undergraduate degree, Food Development and Nutrition, from a lecturer who invited a member of the team, Beth Bradshaw, to deliver a talk to my cohort. At the time I was looking for a public health volunteering opportunity so made sure to research the organisation before the talk to find out about the work they are involved in. After the presentation, I introduced myself to Beth and asked about any volunteering opportunities. Even though there were no opportunities at the time, I followed this up a few months later and secured a three month placement over the summer.

I was required to undertake a 4 week placement during third year of my undergraduate degree and as I already had an established relationship with Food Active, I secured another placement with them. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the first lockdown, a lot of my fellow student’s placements had to be cancelled but as I had previously worked with Beth and the rest of the team, we managed to figure out an efficient way of working remotely via emails, Zoom and MS Teams. I carried on my volunteering position working two days a week until December 2020, when I was offered a paid, part-time position. My work includes writing position statements[1] on various health-related issues, developing toolkits[2] and lesson plans[3], writing blogs[4] and assisting with research.

The ongoing pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives, including university life and volunteering. Many volunteering roles may not be available at the moment, however, there are still remote opportunities worth seeking out! Look out for opportunities online; Twitter is a great platform. Make sure you have a professional Twitter account and are following relevant people you could potentially contact.


If you are interested in volunteering with Food Active, please send your CV and cover letter to chloe.higham-smith@foodactive.org.uk[5]. Please note that we do not have any volunteering opportunities at the moment, but will be in touch with you if any arise in the near future.

 

Links:
  1. position statements: https://foodactive.org.uk/what-we-do/research-and-partnerships/position-statements/
  2. developing toolkits: https://www.sustainweb.org/publications/pester_power_or_parent_power/
  3. lesson plans: https://foodactive.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigns-and-interventions/great-big-junk-food-debate/resources/
  4. blogs: https://foodactive.org.uk/blog-is-there-a-link-between-low-breastfeeding-rates-and-childhood-obesity-in-the-uk/
  5. chloe.higham-smith@foodactive.org.uk: mailto:chloe.higham-smith@foodactive.org.uk

Source URL: https://foodactive.org.uk/blog-food-actives-top-tips-on-successful-volunteering/