Volunteering is a great way to make a difference and add something different to your CV or UCAS application. Volunteering simply means giving up your own time (as little or as much as you like) to help others without getting paid.
Some volunteering frameworks offer certificates or accredited awards. Whichever pathway to volunteering you choose, it demonstrates a commitment to a project, participation within your community and the ability to afford time recreationally around your studies. You gain valuable experience, develop new skills, receive free training and have fun! Volunteering doesn’t have to involve the traditional idea of working in a charity shop (unless you want to). It can give you a chance to build on what you are already into or get support to develop your own ideas for a project that benefits your community.
There are organisations who will link 14-25 year olds with volunteering opportunities in their local area, you simply log in your postcode and a little bit about your hobbies and interests and the type of opportunities you are looking for. Log onto www.vinspired.com.
You may have completed your Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award while at school. It is worth checking out if you are able to continue it through your new school or college. Most further education settings offer the Silver and Gold award. The award is available up until age 24 but there are age restrictions at each level.
National Citizen Service (NCS)
The NCS offers opportunities for all 16 and 17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland that helps you build your skills for work and life. NCS runs through spring, summer and autumn and will mean some time away from home (this needs to be considered if you wish to return home to Scilly for the whole of the holidays). Log onto www.ncsyes.co.uk for more information.
Thinking of taking a gap year?
Volunteering abroad on your gap year is a great way to make the most of your year out. You could do anything from offering to volunteer with animals to teaching English as a foreign language. For more information log onto www.gapyear.com/volunteering.
Youth participation is often used as a term to describe young people’s active involvement. It refers specifically to the involvement in the process of identifying needs, exploring solutions, making decisions and planning action within communities. You do not necessarily need to be a political minded person to represent your peers. The British Youth Council can give you information about Youth Councils and UK Youth Parliament and local forums in your area. You may decide to become a student Council or Student union representative, again – this is something that can make you stand out on your UCAS applications and CV.
Many schools and colleges have a wide range of extra curricular clubs and academies which you are able to join in addition to your studies or training. You should hopefully find a club or academy which meets your interest or talent and joining one is a great way of meeting people who have similar interests to yourself. Clubs and academies can range from sports and expeditions, to music and specialist academic areas. You can find out more about what your prospective school or college has on offer during an open day or by going onto their website.