Liz: From Volunteer to Steering Group Member

Liz works for the construction company Carillion and for the past three years has volunteered for Business in the Community’s (BITC) Ready for Work Programme. Read how volunteering has helped her career;

If you can make a difference to a person’s life this is your opportunity to do so. It’s also great for your CV to show you can take things on around your work and expand your skills.

- Liz,
Ready for Work Volunteer Carillion
In about 2009, Jim who co-ordinates Ready for Work told me about volunteering in pre-placement training and work placements at Carillion. Since then I have been finding new ways to build up my involvement in the scheme.

I have been taking a placement every other month. People come in for two weeks’ work experience and learn skills while getting used to a working environment again.

In job coaching you really bond with people. You support them through looking for work, interviews and adapting to the first few weeks of work. I am still in touch with people I helped early on.

We got the first lady I job coached a role outside of Carillion. She was in administration and now has moved into the care sector. She was from Sierra Leone and had a little boy. I asked for her to stay on longer with me, I hadn’t done enough for her and in the end we got her a job.

And then there was a young lad that had a criminal record, he stayed with me a bit longer and he got a semi-fixed job in Carillion; I really felt a sense of achievement there. We managed to get him a temporary job here and he has gone on to study a Masters and have a family.

Organisations get a lot out of Ready for Work and volunteers get so much job satisfaction especially when they get people into work. Before volunteering for Ready for Work I was told that I came across really nice, especially in interviews, but people asked me how I dealt with challenging characters and people with different backgrounds. I do use it to demonstrate that I can deal with people from different walks of life.

Jim asks me to provide advice for departments hosting placements and has asked me to sit on the steering group for Business Action on Homelessness (BAOH) this year.

I haven’t done a steering group like this before; it’s going to be really interesting. Exciting to work with a lot of businesses in the area and develop an understanding of the background of the programme.

The reason I got involved was that it’s very rewarding. If you can make a difference to a person’s life however small, this is your opportunity to do so; to really impact people’s lives. It’s also great for your CV to show you can take things on around your work and expand your skills.

So brilliant for personal satisfaction as well as for you career.