It’s always nice to be recognised for your efforts which is why I was delighted to be selected as one of three Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Inspirational Committee Members for 2017.
Volunteering is something I have always cared about and have done throughout my life, starting as a voluntary swimming teacher whilst at sixth form college through to mentoring in inner city primary schools in Manchester, professional committee working and symposium organising with the RSC. Plain and simply put, volunteering is good for you.
I have gained many personal benefits through the experiences and responsibilities I’ve had while volunteering, which have helped me to develop into the individual I am today. Not only has it provided me with a large and varied support network, I’ve found it a great way to demonstrate competencies that jobs or education hadn't yet given me a chance to undertake. This even led to a job in one case, as the charity I was applying to knew me in my capacity as a volunteer and felt that I was a good fit to join their team to manage others.
Opportunities to travel to other parts of the world have also arisen through volunteering and I have spent time in Romania working for the Nightingales Children’s Project. The experience was character building and, having adjusted to the culture shock, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the young people out there.
“In my opinion, taking the opportunity to focus on talking enthusiastically to young people or their teachers about a subject, topic or industry you love really improves job satisfaction.”
Being a STEM Ambassador reminds me why I love and studied chemistry. It's really important to remember why we went into a job or industry since it’s so easy to get bogged down in our day jobs with reports and deadlines, and forget why we do what we do. In my opinion, taking the opportunity to focus on talking enthusiastically to young people or their teachers about a subject, topic or industry you love really improves job satisfaction.
I would encourage everyone to try volunteering, be it by raising aspirations back at your old school or supporting your employer with improving their profile in the local community, but most of all seeing it as a development opportunity– you won’t be disappointed!