I don’t want to underestimate the anxiety that you may be feeling at the moment. Dealing with the uncertainty that this pandemic has created and the impact on your study and career opportunities will be challenging. But the current situation also presents an opportunity – to develop new skills and gain the type of experience that you may not otherwise have considered or even realised was an option.
Regular blog readers will be familiar with the importance of employability which we have highlighted on numerous occasions. Volunteering is an effective way to demonstrate these skills to employers. And it can also be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you feel that you could be making a difference during this crisis, the following opportunities researched by Warwick Volunteers may inspire you. The skills gained could be transferable to any job role, but there may also be a specific organisation of interest to you – this could be valuable, highly relevant experience if the sector is a difficult and competitive one to enter.
This scheme enables users to learn everyday conversational language skills with other people all over the world. All learning materials, resources and training are provided and this opportunity may be of particular interest to modern language undergraduates seeking a career in translation, interpreting and teaching, for example.
This is a platform that facilitates ‘people powered research.’ No particular academic background or expertise is required, just a computer. Want to make handwritten documents from 19th century anti-slavery activists accessible for researchers and historians? Interested in mapping features of Mars’ south polar region? Zooniverse has some fascinating projects to get involved with that could appeal to physicists, biologists & historians, for example – for that matter, any student who wants to gain experience in the field of data analytics (one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy)
This could interest anyone with an interest in Word War history. You could be asked to transcribe documents or diaries – if you are considering a career in the heritage or museums sectors this may be a way of demonstrating your ability to keep records with accuracy and attention to detail.
This is a non-profit organisation that provides translation and interpreting services for humanitarian agencies – if you are fluent in at least one other language other than your native language, this could be an incredibly rewarding experience. You could play a vital role, providing humanitarian aid to vulnerable communities and NGO’s.
Working for the UN is something that a lot of students who are passionate about international development and overseas aid aspire to. It is notoriously difficult organisation to work for however, with fierce competition for jobs. Volunteering could be the first step that starts to differentiate your CV.
Animal conservation, another difficult sector to develop a career in. It attracts people who are passionate individuals who are committed to the protection of wildlife, competing for a relatively limited number of opportunities. One of the current projects this organisation are currently looking for volunteers to work on is to monitor the behaviour of seals in the Thames Estuary. A worthwhile project that would also be a way, for example, of demonstrating your ability to collect data to a potential employer.
An App that connects blind and visually impaired people with sighted volunteers via a live video call – genius! You could help somebody bake a cake by reading out instructions and measurements for them. You could also provide an important social connection for somebody who is currently experiencing loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. If you are considering a career in a health and care occupation, what a great way to show your empathy, listening skills and understanding. Or to demonstrate the communication skills that all employers require.
This is an independent charity, with innovation at it’s core. If providing solutions to challenges in education, health, government and the creative industries excites you this could be an interesting option – and an opportunity to showcase your analytical, problem solving and critical thinking skills to a variety of recruiters.
If you are finding these uncertain times difficult, volunteering may provide something valuable and rewarding to focus on. Who knows, these opportunities could also help you to develop a network that could help you manage your future career. All you need is an internet connection and some motivation to get involved!