A bright future for student volunteers
The University has officially opened Volunteer Central at their city campus to get more students involved in volunteering.
Volunteer Central is a partnership between the University of Wolverhampton and the Student’s Union. They will work together to provide a central point for students to seek volunteering opportunities.
Opening the new department, Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said: “Students at the University of Wolverhampton make a significant contribution to the communities in which they live.
“Volunteer Central brings together a number of aspects of volunteering options and opportunities, and we promote vacancies with 200 organisations and have 1,600 students engaged in volunteering.”
Currently employers are feeding back that young people are not ‘work ready ‘; the University of Wolverhampton though recognises the importance of developing work-based, softer skills that are not integral on degree courses.
A total of £1,973,286.00 based on the annual survey on hours and earnings (ASHE) were worked by the University’s students in 2013 and the University aim to escalate the amount this academic year.
Simon Brandwood, Head of Careers and Ann Gough CEO of the Student’s Union at the University drive Volunteer Central while aiming to raise the profile of volunteering.
The staff based at Volunteer Central aim to involve more students accessing volunteering opportunities within the local communities and provide the opportunities for student to secure those additional skills and experience through high quality volunteering placements.
Simon Brandwood said: “With more people entering Higher Education, nowadays a degree alone is simply not enough.
“Students need to develop skills and experience outside their studies.
“The University has been involved in volunteering for a number of years, however different bases were scattered all over the University.
“Now we are centralised, we can co-ordinate structured support and help students gain strategic links into the community.”
The new department will support students and graduates to develop their CVs and enhance their skills in order to be successful in the job market.
Volunteering has become an asset to businesses and evidence has shown volunteering is what employers seek.
Ann Gough said: “Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to both students and organisations to support personal development and the wider community.
“Quality life skills are so important; we underestimate the importance of the role and how valuable it can be.
“Volunteering is a life changing experience for the people who volunteer and the people they help along the way.”
Volunteering provides students with the opportunity to enhance their skills, gain experience, and boost their confidence in communicating in a professional environment.
Volunteer Central has obtained professional relationships through previous volunteering opportunities with a variety of well-known local companies including; Barnardos, St John’s Ambulance, Cosford RAF, The Haven and building relationships for aspiring teachers and social workers with local schools and communities.
Dan Orton, a recent graduate of the University, volunteered with St John’s Ambulance through the University’s previous scheme, he said: “I cannot stress how important my volunteering roles have been when it comes to my confidence, professionalism, and my optimism when it comes to employment in post-education.
“I have gained confidence in my own ability, applied practical transferable skills into the workplace, improved my communication and presentation skills, and obtained line management experience – And let’s face it; when an employer asks me the generic interview question, “Tell me about an experience you are proud of?” it’s difficult for somebody else to beat – “I once saved a man’s life.”
Current active volunteers including student reps, sports volunteers and student ‘best mates’ will continue to take place throughout the university.
An annual awards ceremony is held that recognises the number of hours and the individual contributions and skills they have achieved through volunteering.
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