This past week was #VolunteerWeek which is an annual event run by NCVO that celebrates the contribution made by millions of people who volunteer all across the UK at various events!
In celebration I wanted to talk about the benefits of volunteering and my own personal experiences! As an event student, volunteering is a perfect way to build up your work experience when first trying to enter the events industry. To gain any job, be that full time or an internship, you need to have some past experience in that field – working as a volunteer allows you to work with event organisers and see an event unfold.
During the last four years I have volunteered for a range of different organisations and events: Keystone *@BBC Hands on History Roadshow, Bath Literacy Festival, Greenbelt *@2011 & 2013, Cheltenham Literacy Festival, as well as stewarding for various local community events since 2009.
I strongly advocate paid placements and internships and you may wonder why, when I believe individuals should be paid for their work and time, I also think volunteer work is both vital and great. The simple fact is that most events which are run by volunteers tend to be community and charity based, meaning the work involved is beneficial to a wide and large group of people. The other point is that it can be very hard to get any job without any previous work experience, which can often leave young people going round in circles trying to gain the right experiences to land a job, this is where volunteering can really change a persons CV and opportunities.
I shall be volunteering at Greenbelt this year for the third time, I go back because of the people I have met and simply because I am a sucker for any event that brings together fantastic speakers and great music. Whilst I am not a Christian, the event is a brilliant one with fantastic staff and volunteers & it taught me a lot in regards with how you run and plan a 20,000 people festival that is almost completely run via the brilliant and committed volunteers.
It was Greenbelt that gave me one of my first real events work experience along with my time and Keystone & I know that these experience helped me land my paid event work and have led to more work with both organisations – which is a brilliant aspect of volunteer work, the relationships it helps build!
So why should you consider volunteering?
- Help improve your CV
- Meet some incredible people
- Build up some key skills
- Learn and improve skills
- Develop career relationships and network
- Give back to your community or chosen charity
I would be curious to know if you have volunteered for any events and if you feel it helps when trying to work in the events industry?