5 Reasons for Social Work Students to consider additional voluntary work alongside their course

This post is aimed at Social Work students. However, most of the points apply to students from any course: voluntary work secured during your degree or Masters course helps you stand out from others when applying for jobs.

In recent years, competition for social work positions (along with competition for other types of vacancies) has intensified due to fewer vacancies and cuts to public services. Undertaking additional voluntary work alongside your course offers a way to differentiate yourself from other social work graduates.

Volunteering outside your course (even if only for a few hours each month) will allow you to:

1. develop your interests

2. develop expertise in specific areas

3. develop a different perspective on referrals to other services

4. build contacts who could provide useful information and suggestions for professional development/job search tactics

5. gain experience in a way which fits with your other commitments

Securing voluntary work- where to start:

· It’s probably easiest to either find advertised voluntary vacancies or to approach charities and voluntary organisations to ask whether they take volunteers

· Student Skills Development within Student Support and Guidance at the University can assist you in finding voluntary vacancies:

· Either email them: student.skills, call into SSG at Warrington (Martin 012) or ring on 01925 53428

· Dedicated Volunteering vacancy sites include www.do-it.org and http://www.charityjob.co.uk/Volunteer-Jobs (this site also has home-based opportunities – volunteering without having to travel!)

Examples of recent vacancies from www.do-it.org

· Volunteer Independent Visitor for Children In Care (National Youth Advocacy Service)

· Diabetes Service Champion Mersey (Diabetes UK – North west)

· Play Worker (Latchford) (WASPS Link Clubs)

· Case Worker Volunteers (The Royal British Legion Merseyside & Cheshire Area)

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