Tag Archives: volunteering

Reasons To Get Into Student Mentoring


Student mentoring can seem an unnecessary stress on top of a university workload. But rather than something that gets in the way of work, it can be something which goes hand in hand with it. Alongside the academic benefits, student mentoring can up your personal skills, boost confidence, and even help with post university employability. Read on for all the reasons to get into student mentoring.

Builds Your Own Confidence And Self Esteem

One of the best ways to feel more confident in yourself is through helping others. Not only will you realise that you’re more skilled and knowledgeable than you thought you were, but you’ll learn to use you knowledge in innovative ways. Plus, doing something nice for someone else always makes you feel better about yourself.

Develop Employability Skills

To name just a few skills: listening, rapport building, people skills, public speaking, teamwork, leadership and management are all massively boosted by student mentoring.

Makes You Feel More Involved With Your University

It’s easy whilst at uni to feel like a small fish in a big pond. But by connecting with your department and with other students, you’ll realise you’re an intrinsic part of a bigger picture.

Meet New People…

In spite of all the social events, university can sometimes feel lonely. Mentoring is a great way to meet new people – be it your mentees, or other mentors. And because you’re all studying the same course, conversation is easy and you’ll always have something to talk about!

…And Build Connections

You never know what will happen post uni, so securing positive relationships now is key. It’s always useful to put out favours that can potentially be recalled down the line.

Volunteering Looks Great For Future Employers

Student mentoring shows you to be a compassionate, driven and self-motivated person, which are all really appealing skills for future potential employers.

Enhances CV And Job Applications

Applying for jobs straight from university can be daunting, particularly if you have no experience in your field. Student mentoring is a great way to bulk out that aspect of your CV.

Good Use For Acquired Skills And Experience

Student mentoring can help you academically, too. It gives you an opportunity to test and stretch yourself, and try to put your newly acquired skills into practice.

Can Help You See New Ways To Work

Another way student mentoring can boost your academic prowess is by seeing how others work. Through close collaboration with another student, you may see new and useful ways of problem solving and producing work that you’d never have discovered on your own.

Helps You Stay Cognisant Of Your Own Development

By constantly reinvigorating your academic skills, student mentoring will help you see where you’re thriving and where you need to spend some extra time. It’s like practising at working, all while helping out someone else – win win!


Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.


Summer Career Fix: Do some Volunteering

What are you doing this summer to help you stand out from the crowd? 

Gary’s bags are packed and he’s ready to jet off to places far sunnier than Cumbria. But he’s not off for a lazy beach holiday – he’s going to be doing one small thing each week that will help in his future career. He doesn’t know what that career is just yet, but that’s ok – most of these things can be done even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do. And if you need some help finding your path, you can always email the Careers & Employability service for some advice and guidance: careers@cumbria.ac.uk

So what’s Gary doing this week?

He’s finding out about volunteering opportunities!

Volunteering is a great way to gain really useful work experience and skills, try something new or different, and do something worthwhile and rewarding. Furthermore, it will give your future job applications a competitive edge, as it will enable you in job applications or interviews to draw on real life practical examples. For example, employers often want to know what experience you’ve had of working in a team, communicating with a range of different people, or problem solving. So volunteering helps you build up a useful skills bank.

If you are not sure what to do, consider something new to see if you like it. Lots of volunteering roles offer a trial session, so you can get a feel for whether you would like to become more involved.

Volunteering is also useful for getting an inside view on what the workplace is like and seeing what other people in other roles do. Importantly too, it develops your network. You’ll meet other volunteers and make contacts which could lead to other things.

There are lots of different ways you can volunteer. These are just a few ideas to get started.

University of Cumbria Student Union (UCSU)

UCSU have dozens of different volunteering opportunities, and also help students to facilitate their own volunteering experiences – so if there’s something you want to do, let them know and they’ll help you make the most of it. Maybe you’d like to apply the learning from your course, develop your skills, help people in the local community or just try something completely new. Visit www.ucsu.me/volunteering to register and create your volunteering profile or email SUvolunteering@cumbria.ac.uk for more information. UCSU runs volunteering information events too.

Other UK wide options you could explore are:

Do-it makes it easy for anyone to volunteer in their community and lists hundreds of opportunities throughout the country.

vInspired is a youth volunteering charity which connects young people with volunteering opportunities.  Use their search tool to find placements to help make a difference.

GoodGym combines physical tasks that benefit the community and keeps you fit at the same time! You can join a group run to work on a community project, do one off missions to help vulnerable people, or commit to visit an isolated older person every week.

Environmentjob  lists conservation and wildlife opportunities throughout the UK and overseas options too.

If you are interested in bird life, the RSPB welcomes volunteers from bird identifiers to graphic designers.

The homelessness charity Crisis helps deliver services, campaigns, fundraising, administrative and IT support and always needs volunteers.

The Red Cross has lots of opportunities too from working in a charity shop to fundraising and it doesn’t matter how much time you can give.

Cancer Research UK recruits event, media and office volunteers.


Volunteering abroad

For a summer volunteering placement, the International Citizen Service programme is worth considering. It’s funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development and runs 12 week volunteering placements in over 20 countries. The programmes are aimed at 18-25 year olds.

VSO provides volunteering placements overseas, mainly in developing countries, but you can support them in the UK too by volunteering at fund-raising and community events.


What are your rights as a volunteer?

As a volunteer, you don’t have the same rights as an employee, and you won’t receive a contract of employment, but you will usually be given a volunteer agreement that explains what training you’ll get, the level of supervision and support you can expect to receive and whether you’re covered under the organisation’s employer or public liability insurance. Health and safety issues should be covered too.

You aren’t paid for your time as a volunteer, but you may get money to cover expenses. This is usually limited to food, drink, travel or any equipment you need to buy.

GOV.UK has a section on volunteering which includes information about your rights as a volunteer.


Come back next week for another #SummerCareerFix 

Support is available from your Careers and Employability Service with career planning, CVs and applications, interview skills, practice interviews and more. Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk with your careers queries.



Career interview: how I became a Copywriter?

This week Careers have been talking again to staff at The Entertainer to find out how their career journeys began, and what advice they would give to graduates interested in pursuing a similar path. This is what we found out from Alex Magee, copywriter at The Entertainer.Alex Magee

What did you study at university and what impact did it have on your career path?

I studied English Literature and Journalism. Both subjects rely heavily on writing, punctuation and sticking to deadlines – things that provide a good foundation for a career in copywriting.

What work experience did you undertake per landing a permanent position?

I did placements at various newspapers whilst completing my journalism degree.

Did you take part in any societies while at university, and if so, did you learn any valuable skills from your time?

I used to write for the student newspaper. It’s something I’d definitely recommend if you’re interested in a career that involves a lot of creative writing.

What advice do you have for those who are just starting university right now?

Do a subject you will enjoy. It sounds obvious but you’ll be amazed at the number of people who drop out because they chose something they hated. Also, try not to procrastinate too much. The last thing you want is starting a 15,000 word essay the day before a deadline when you’ve had all term to do it!

How important is a brand’s culture when choosing positions to apply for?

Very important. You spend more time at work than with family and friends so it’s got to be an environment that will get the best out of you.

 What is the most challenging part of your current role?

Juggling all the different projects and making sure everything’s done before the deadlines.

Don’t forget to contact Careers on careers@cumbria.ac.uk if you want some help with your career planning and job seeking. Alex mentioned how important it is to get experience, and we can help with this too.

Friday’s Featured Vacancy – People First

People First Vacancy of the week

People First have a variety of vacancies closing on 10 June for advocacy and other related posts.

People First is an independent customer-led organisation that has worked in Cumbria for over 25 years. They have a deep understanding of the area, the communities and the unique challenges.

They are the largest provider of Advocacy in Cumbria, supporting thousands of people every year to have their voices heard and helping them to live their best lives. Their independence is very important to them, they are not run or controlled by any other service.

People First are a passionate organisation which dedicates itself to representing people’s views, they are dynamic and courageous and not afraid to stand up and be counted.

Fundraising Officer – Carlisle/Workington

Book Keeper – Workington

Bank Sessional Researchers

Board Member – Voluntary

Volunteer Receptionist – Carlisle/Barrow/Workington

Volunteer Independent Advocates – Carlisle/Barrow/Workington

Volunteer Self Advocacy Support Workers – Carlisle/Barrow/Workington


For more information and to apply for these roles please visit http://www.peoplefirstcumbria.org.uk/our-vacancies

#UoCMedia Industry Day: Why Work Experience is Important and How to Get It


media city 2

There are many ways to gain relevant work experience in the media industry and they don’t all involve traveling to London!

I recently represented the University of Cumbria at a BBC Digital and Creative Careers Day at Media City in Salford. One of the biggest things I took from the day is the need for graduates applying for training schemes, jobs and freelance work to have relevant work experience.


How much experience should I have?

As a current student or recent graduate you are not expected to have years of experience in the sector you want to work in. Instead, you need to demonstrate that you are committed and interested in working in your intended field. You can do this by attending relevant work experience, reflecting on what you have learned and asking for a letter of recommendation from the employers you work for.

Work experience opportunities can range for a day’s shadowing, a week or two, a few months or a longer-term internship. With such a wide variety of opportunities available it is important to focus on the quality and relevance of a work experience placement rather than the amount of placements you do.


How to get relevant work experience:

  • Send a CV and covering letter to companies and ask for shadowing/work experience
  • Make your own content
  • Volunteer for university or community radio and TV
  • Apply for advertised work experience


It’s all about the money…

Some work experience opportunities will be paid, others may not be. If you are planning to take part in unpaid work experience I suggest deciding (before you apply) under what circumstances you will work for free and for how long.

Think about: what benefits you will receive, what skills and experiences you will gain, if you have done the same thing or something similar already, how much it will cost you, when you are available, if you can get funding and how it will benefit your career.

When thinking about if you should take part in an unpaid placement consider:

  • Are you being asked to do work that you would usually be paid for?
  • When you are on placement are you doing the same work as paid staff members and are you being given responsibility for work?
  • Are you being asked to take on an unpaid placement for more than 6 weeks?

If the answer to any of the above is yes the placement offered should be a paid one.

Note – we know it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether a work experience placement should be paid or not. If you are unsure you can e-mail careers@cumbria.ac.uk for advice.


I have included a list of work experience opportunities below and some information on the upcoming Media Industry Day on Wednesday 13 April 2016.


Good Luck!

Kathryn Jones

Careers and Employability Coordinator

University of Cumbria

Careers and Employability Service



#UoCMedia Industry Day

Wednesday 13 April 2016 – 9am to 4.15pm – Brampton Road Campus (registration at main reception)

Find more information here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/media-industry-day-tickets-23238632375?platform=hootsuite

Registration has now closed but UoC students are welcome to just come along on the day.



Media Careers – Work Experience Opportunities:


BBC Work Experience

There are four application windows every year and each one will last two weeks.

Various Locations



ITV Insight

There are four windows of opportunity to apply each year, with the Insight Programme open in January, April, July and October.

Various locations



Discover Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife welcomes work experience students for a period of one week throughout the year.



C4 Pop Up Events

C4 Pop Up is a day of industry talks, creative workshops and down to earth careers advice and support from Channel 4. Dates for the London, Belfast and Cardiff events are already up with more to follow.



Event Volunteer Quays Festival 2016

Quays Culture – North West England

Deadline – 30 June 2016



Volunteer Venue Assistants and Festival Runners

Bradford Literature Festival – Yorkshire

Deadline – 6 May 2016



Event Steward

Wild Rumpus – Staffordshire

Deadline – 18 April 2016




Lake District Summer Music – Cumbria

Deadline 25 May 2016



Volunteer media opportunities at the Animal Refuge and Carlisle Youth Zone


Contact Max Evans-Kirkman – mekmedia@outlook.com


Mullholland Media


Contact David Mulholland (Company Director) for potential work experience opportunities


07770 676766 / 07879 444443




Cloudscape Studios


Contact Lou Kneath Gibson (Company Director) to find out more


07521 295534




Useful Contacts


Careers and Employability Service

Contact us for CV, application and personal statement feedback, careers appointments, career planning, help finding placements and graduate jobs.




Student Enterprise

If you are thinking about starting your own business, whether it’s for profit or not, we can help and support you all the way.

01228 888734




Volunteer @ Abandon Normal Devices Festival


The Abandon Normal Devices Festival is searching for enthusiastic volunteers to support the upcoming event that will run from 18th-20th September.

The event will feature an exciting festival of new cinema, digital culture & art in Grizedale Forest and is keen to recruit volunteers for this unique project!

The festival features a groundbreaking programme of new commissions & will reimagine the forest through a series of trails, artworks & film happenings. It will provide volunteers with a great opportunity to work alongside international artists as well as the Forestry Commission & several other organisations.

If you’d like to find out more about the festival visit: http://www.andfestival.org.uk or to apply to be a volunteer go to: http://www.andfestival.org.uk/blog/volunteers-for-and-festival/

Don’t miss out!

Volunteer with Lancashire County Council!


How to apply to be a volunteer

Some people just really need a friend. Can you be that person for an hour or two a week? To help or find out more, see our Befriending roles.

Perhaps you would like to be a Countryside Ranger or help young people in a youth centre?

Search our list of volunteer opportunities available.

Once you find an opportunity that suits you, select it and then click the “sign up” button.

You will now start creating your own volunteer profile, once you have completed and submitted it, a member of staff will contact to discuss your application.

If you don’t hear from us within 5 working days, please email lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk and quote the opportunity you have expressed an interest in and the date you completed your application. We will chase it up for you.

If you have looked through our opportunities but are unsure about the option and want some help please email lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk.

Apply for a volunteering opportunity

What’s in it for you?

Whatever your reason for becoming a volunteer there are huge benefits for you and your community. We will help you to achieve your personal goals.

Volunteering provides the experience and qualifications employers look for, it shows them that you are committed and have employability skills.

You will receive training to prepare you for volunteering and to enhance your activities. We work in partnership with other training providers and will signpost you to appropriate training for example – confidence building, employability skills, drug awareness and mental health awareness.

You should not be out of pocket financially, where possible we will reimburse pre-agreed expenses such as mileage and car parking.

What you can expect from us

  • A full induction to your role within the service
  • Regular support and feedback from a supervising officer
  • A written description of your volunteer activities
  • Application of Health and Safety policies to volunteers’ activities.
  • Clear policies for reimbursing volunteers’ expenses
  • Recognition of the different roles and responsibilities of volunteers and paid employees
  • Ongoing opportunities for training

What we expect from you

When carrying out your volunteering activities you are expected to be ambassadors for Lancashire County Council and/or Lancashire Constabulary. Your volunteering activities will add great value to the services we offer to the people of Lancashire.

In relation to your volunteering activities you must:

  • Be reliable, committed and professional.
  • Act in confidence and with discretion
  • Embrace equality and diversity values
  • Have a duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of all people you deal with
  • Abide by all relevant health and safety and data protection legislation

Please email lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk for more details around volunteering.