When I should have been revising for my university finals and my friends were diligently making career choices and life plans, I too was procrastinating about my future (which lacked any such life plan) and signed up to be a volunteer Youth Discovery Leader with the National Trust.
Youth Discovery holidays are residential conservation working holidays for 16 -18year olds. An interview was arranged and I vividly remember being in two minds about going- impending exams were causing a greater panic than life plans. I decided it was poor form to cancel so I went and had an interview with my now manager!
After graduation, I helped lead two holidays, including a residential to celebrate 40 years of working holidays where 40 young volunteers camped on Brownsea Island. I thoroughly loved it and wanted to get more involved. I applied for and was lucky to get a three-month internship with the central volunteering team. I continued to lead working holidays and in the April gained paid employment as Youth Programmes Assistant for the organisation.
Volunteering had given me an insight into the ethos and workings of the organisation, a taster of the work environment at The National Trust and a chance to discuss career options with current employees. I also gathered real and tangible examples for job interviews and a good idea of what I liked doing and how I liked working. As part of my current role I now help to organise our Youth Discovery programme.
My experience of the programme is massively beneficial and I am able to passionately recruit young people and new leaders. I still don’t really have a life plan, but I am a huge advocate for volunteering being a great route into a job you enjoy.
Kate Ingham, Youth Programmes Assistant at Heelis (National Trust Central Office in Swindon)