Charity helps students get hands-on to increase their chance of finding work
Published by kerri smith for Reach the People Charity in Local Government and also in Education, Housing
A charity is looking to increase its numbers of volunteers to help students in Birmingham have a better chance of finding employment.
Trident Reach the People Charity, which provides support to vulnerable people across the region, is marking this week’s national Student Volunteering Week by attending a fair at Aston University today (Wednesday 22nd February) to speak to students about the kind of general volunteering roles that are available in the hope more people will sign up.
The charity currently has 70 people helping out in voluntary roles from supporting customers to office work and gardening, including 10 students on placements as part of their health and social care studies which involve a requirement to gain real-life experience in the workplace.
A basic skills assessment is carried out for each volunteer so that an employment support plan can be created and a record of achievement log is given to them to keep updated which can be presented to prospective employers.
Oliver Towns, Head of Volunteering at Trident Reach, said: “In all, we’ve got 70 people of all ages working with us across the charity whether that be working alongside our front line staff providing support to our customers, helping with maintenance through our handyman service, assisting with admin duties in our offices or lending a hand in our shops by stocking the shelves, handling cash etc.”
Oliver added: “We are increasingly hearing about unemployment figures being on the rise and the fact youth unemployment is at a record high so the competition for jobs is fierce and it’s often not enough for people to just have the relevant qualifications, employers are looking for that bit extra that makes people stand out. Volunteering with a charity is a perfect way of gaining experience that can be invaluable in securing employment while helping others at the same time.”
Katy Gilbert (27), from Moseley, started volunteering with Trident Reach because she wanted to find out more about a career in the care sector and whether it was what she wanted to do long-term. After being teamed up with senior care worker and assisting with daily duties at eight residential care sites around Birmingham, Katie was encouraged to apply for a college course to gain the Diploma in Health and Social Care.
Katy, who is studying at Bournville College in Birmingham, is due to complete the diploma in June. She said: “I started volunteering because I liked the idea of a job in care and staff at Trident Reach really encouraged me to study the professional qualification so I can eventually do this as my career and I’m loving it.
“So many people are looking for jobs and it really is tough out there but if you’ve been volunteering as well as doing courses, it puts you at the front of the queue when you’re qualified. Everyone at Trident Reach treats you like a part of the team and you’re no different being a volunteer. It’s a fantastic thing to do, even if it’s not part of your course it’s so rewarding and much better than sitting at home.”
Volunteers need to be over 18 to work in care roles and general volunteering is open to anyone over the age of 16.
For more information about Trident Reach or to find out how you can get involved with volunteering, call Oliver Towns on 0121 226 5800.