Chipo came along to one of the Volunteer Now! Introduction to Volunteering Workshops and following conversations with the volunteer officer Jenny Brown about the options that were available to her, she began volunteering with VAAC. Here is her story:
“I began volunteering with Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester (VAAC) through Volunteer Now! in the summer of 2014. I had just completed a degree in Public Health and Autism and l was looking for valuable experience that would help me secure a job. I was aware that although l had good academic qualifications, l needed the work experience for my CV to get noticed. I had experience in health and social care but l needed experience in other areas such as the public sector as well.
After looking at various charities and organisations through Volunteer Now, l decided to volunteer with VAAC as a research assistant. I chose VAAC because the organisation was relatively small and met my various needs. The volunteering sessions were very flexible and that made it easy for me to work around my other commitments.
During the same year, l enrolled for a Doctor of Clinical Practise (PhD) degree with the University of Southampton. The structure of the modules of the programme required skills that l couldn’t get working with VAAC. The team arranged an interview for me with Healthwatch West Sussex. After the interview, l became the Volunteer Liaison Representative at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The challenging job opened many doors for me; I had to attend strategic meetings and to influence the process and content of inspections and write reports on inspections carried out.
After carrying out a number of inspections within West Sussex, l finally got myself a paying job with the care quality commission.
It is through volunteering that made it possible for me to get the job l really enjoy doing. Volunteering gave me the experience and confidence to go for jobs that l have always wanted to do, and has given my CV a boost making it more noticeable.”