Student Community Action
Queen's University Of Belfast Students' Union

Why Get Involved In Local Voluntary Work?

As much as you may have gotten used to it - even starting liking it - the student life is a hard life! With lectures, practicals, essays, reports, studying, exams, and part time jobs,  (not to mention that all important FREE time), it seems as if there could just not be any possible reason for you to devote anymore of your precious few hours to anything else!

However, think seriously about the advantages that getting involved in local voluntary work could do for you.

Student volunteerings would provide you with a unique opportunity  to:

  • experience, appreciate and understand the diversity of our society;
  • make a difference in the community, and
  • gain self-confidence, awareness and the skills needed for future successful employment.
Remember that whilst the number of graduate jobs has not increased very much over the last few years, the number of your fellow students leaving University and looking for employment has gone sky high, so more and more employers are starting to recognise that technical qualifications and a fancy scroll are simply not enough to get you the first job on your career ladder once you've entered the big bad real world. 

The Council for Industry and Higher Education has identified that you need to acquire a basic portfolio of skills during their studies, including problem solving, management, communication, and a general awareness of yourself and others.

The Dearing Report into the future of higher education affirmed that students need exposure to the community if they are to be equipped emotionally, practically and professionally for a life after education. It stated that "All the evidence endorses the value of some exposure of the student to the wider world... via work experience, involvement in student union activities or work in community or voluntary settings."

One in four graduate employers stated in a recent report that they were concerned about the levels of communication skills in potential graduate employees. 

One way of ensuring that you are able to gather these skills whilst in education is via the development of community volunteering opportunities though Student Community Action and other such community organisations. And there is a great variety of voluntary work to get involved in, so you could do something to supplement your degree, or use it as a means of escapism! Whatever your reasons are, take a look at the sort of stuff you can get involved in:

  • health promotion
  • helping the socially excluded
  • creative arts
  • hands-on work
  • teaching and mentoring
  • media and marketing
  • conservation
  • fundraising
  • outreach work
  • technical
  • managing and organising
  • information technology
  • research
Even though you don't get paid for doing voluntary work,  its effects can be far more beneficial than paid employment ever could. Here are some things it can achieve in the long run:
  • build a caring society of active citizens
  • widen participation and tackle social exclusion
  • bring passion and values into the workplace
  • make an economic impact
  • unveil an exciting network of people and experiences
  • provide a tool to aid personal development planning
  • provides millions of work-experience opportunities
  • enhances academic research, teching and learning
  • enhances your employability
  • be an agent of social change

  • foster a "can-do" culture of entrepreneurship
So is it really worth all this planning and effort going into obtaining your degree if you don't start putting planning and effort into what you're going to do once you've got it?! Becoming a student volunteer is one solution to better yourself and the world around you. Student Community Action is here to help you. So use us!