Derek Welbeck is a 21 year old graduate who, after a year of struggling to find a job, is just about to start an internship at The Metro newspaper and he feels that his volunteering experience played a vital part in him being offered the role.
When Derek graduated from university he never dreamt it would be as hard as it was to find a job but like a lot of other grads have found, finding a job at the moment can be a real struggle. So Derek turned to volunteering to give him that vital edge.
“I’d wanted to do some volunteering for a while as a few friends of mine had raved about how rewarding it was but I just never found the right time. The fact that I was finding it so hard to find a job made me realise that now would be the perfect time to volunteer – it would be great for my CV and provide the best way to improve skills and get good experience.”
So Derek went online in search of a volunteering opportunity that would be constructive but that would not force him to commit too much of his time so that he could still proactively look for a full time job. He spotted an ad for Digitall, a one-to-one mentoring scheme run by TimeBank where young people act as mentors to older people over a period of 12 weeks to help them achieve their computer goals.
“I couldn’t believe that I only had to give up one hour of my time a week”, Derek says, “and it only took me 20 minutes to sign up. It couldn’t have been easier.”
Derek began mentoring Shiela, a 71 year old lady who was in search of a computing ‘refresher’ course.
“It was so wonderful having Derek all to myself to teach me all the great things that I could do on the computer. Travelling is such a big hobby of mine and so finding out how to read hotel reviews and see panoramic pictures of them on YouTube before I book them is fantastic and so helpful, it’s made the world of difference. Derek really has been my knight in shining armour!
“I was working as a sales assistant but I knew that I wasn’t really gaining any skills from that – volunteering with Digitall on the other hand has helped me develop skills I didn’t even realise I had. My communication skills have really improved as I’ve learnt how to adapt and communicate differently with older people and how to be patient. I also learnt how to manage someone as I had to plan and prepare lessons and projects.
I struggled for so long to find work and as soon as I included my volunteering experience on my CV I started to get interviews. In the interview for The Metro position I was quizzed a lot about what I did outside of university and work and when I told them about my volunteering they were really interested and felt that it showed that I am capable of doing different things outside of work. I really believe it gave me the edge on other candidates and it’s what helped me get the role. I can’t wait to start next week.”