After completing my degree in Social Psychology at university I began looking for a job, however I had no experience in the field and therefore struggled to find employment.
I saw an advertisement in the Belfast Telegraph for Mentors for Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) which you could do voluntarily.
I went online to get more information and found it would give me the necessary experience I would need to get a job.
To be a volunteer mentor you had to be committed for a year, be fun, enthusiastic and care about what was going on with young people involved in the scheme. I did a bit of research and went to the taster session and decided to go ahead with being a volunteer. VOYPIC offered OCN accredited training so I would get a qualification. I completed the training and started meeting up with a young person once a week for a year. It was great fun and I developed a lot of skills. The young person also developed greatly and that gave a great sense of satisfaction.
I eventually got a job working in adult mental health but with doing the mentoring I realized that I wanted to work with young people. After about a year, a job became available in VOYPIC as a Mentoring Project worker. I applied for this post and got the job working in the Northern Trust. Part of the interview was a presentation on the issues facing young people in care and I feel that because of my volunteer work I was able to write a relevant answer which accounted for a large percentage of the interview. I have taken up position in this role now and thoroughly enjoy my job.
I still volunteer in Assisi Animal Shelter and am looking to take on further volunteering with NIACRO. I get a great sense of satisfaction when I volunteer and really feel like I am helping someone. I also gain great experience and skills which will definitely help if I ever decide to change jobs. I would recommend volunteering to everyone because you are helping not just yourself but other people too. If you ever need any advice about volunteering contact your local Volunteer Now office or volunteer centre and they will point you in the right direction.”