Originally published on 17 January 2022 by Fiorela Imerai:
Volunteering with Action Tutoring is an excellent way to contribute in narrowing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. But that’s not all! Joining our community of inspiring and passionate tutors is incredibly beneficial for our volunteers’ professional development, too.
By sharing your time, you are not only making a meaningful impact on disadvantaged pupils’ lives, but you are also gaining valuable experience and exploring more career opportunities.
How exactly does Action Tutoring help volunteers with their careers?
It is a great place to expand your networking
Being a part of a volunteering community is an excellent opportunity for professional networking. You will encounter like-minded individuals who support your professional interests and who may be able to assist or guide you in your career.
They could even end up being your future colleagues, or life- long friends; after all, you selected the same cause to volunteer for! Volunteering can also make social interactions much easier for those who may feel uneasy in social situations.
Charlie White, our amazing Communications and Policy Manager, was a volunteer tutor with Action Tutoring before she decided to join the team. Because of this, she understood what the charity was about, and was increasingly interested in its work.
Charlie subscribed to receive newsletters and job alerts. Upon seeing the communications role she knew she would apply, since she loves writing, design and problem-solving, and knows that great communication is a powerful change-maker.
Volunteering is a low-risk way to explore professional options and discover a new career path. Beyond its community-enriching benefits, it’s an excellent to gain hands-on experience in a field you are interested in, without the long-term commitment.
That’s what Phyllida Jacobs, our incredible Communications Administrator, did when she started to think about teaching as a career option. Volunteering with Action Tutoring, and seeing her pupils’ increased excitement around English, reaffirmed her enthusiasm for getting young people reading and writing.
It increases self-awareness and builds new skills
Charlie mentions how Action Tutoring’s commitment to its organisational values means that everyone is encouraged to stop and reflect.
Specifically, when asked how Action Tutoring helps volunteers become more self-aware, Charlie said that she’s had opportunities to expand her skillset and stretch herself.
Working with welcoming and open-minded people means you feel safe to make suggestions and take a punt on ideas. Our commitment to our organisational values means we’re all encouraged to stop and reflect. This has helped me learn more about what I enjoy and what I’m really good at.
When Phyllida started tutoring, she was struck by how organised and friendly everyone was. She was initially quite nervous, having never worked with young people before, but felt reassured by having a Programme Coordinator and a structured workbook to support her.
Action Tutoring provides a friendly and supportive environment, enabling genuine, engaging conversations with people who share similar interests. This is what our lovely volunteer Emma has to say about her experience:
Our fantastic Programme Coordinator in London, Maisie Alderson, started volunteering one hour of her time per week whilst working.
The initial tutor training provided her with an understanding of the organisation, its mission and how it runs. This sparked Maisie’s interest in working in the charity sector.
An opportunity to work on your resume and interview skills
Lastly, the process of looking for a volunteer position and sending an application is very similar to applying for a paid position.
Our volunteers complete an application form to demonstrate their qualifications and previous experience, and apply for an enhanced background check. In going through this process, Charlie could tell that Action Tutoring took quality and commitment seriously, and remembers wondering if she’d get the role.
Volunteering was incredibly rewarding for Phyllida, since the experience helped to secure her first job after university; at the children’s book publisher Tiny Owl. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and confidence to support students through the tricky transition from university to the working world.
Action Tutoring totally changed Maisie’s mindset, and her career path. As a Programme Coordinator, she feels she is now doing meaningful work that will lead to positive change, and make a real difference in closing the attainment gap.
Identifying our skills, achievements, hobbies, and principles is the foundation of a successful career, as it leads to self-awareness. Tutoring requires volunteers to be patient, empathetic and caring. Do you want to build on these qualities? Volunteering can be a great way to develop and put your skills to the test.