How to Build Skills as a Volunteer
As a volunteer, one of the main things you need to understand is that whilst you are there to help, you are also there to learn. Being a volunteer in anything is about taking in what you can, so apply the lessons to your own life at a later date.
It can be hard to do this as you will need to spend a lot of time shadowing others and you may not get a lot of instruction when volunteering, but it does become hugely useful for your long-term aims and goals for the years to come.
If you are looking for an easy way to start building skills as a volunteer, it helps if you can acknowledge the importance of things like building those skills or developing those skills to start with. You can volunteer in many different ways but no matter what you do there will be something there that you can learn from and take something out of in the long-term.
So, where should you start when you want to learn how to build skills as a volunteer? What can you try and do to learn?
- Shadow your leader – the person who is taking you under their wing will know a lot of the industry you are involved in so make sure you understand what they do, and that you can follow their knowledge and their development as closely as possible. What they teach you will be invaluable for years to come.
- Read online – in your time away from volunteering, start reading online about the industry. Look at job descriptions of what you are volunteering in and see what kinds of skills are expected of people who are involved in that line of work.
- Take criticism – when you do something wrong you will be informed by the team you are working with, and you should never take this personally. They expect you to be able to help out when you volunteer, so always listen to what they say as it can help you fix mistakes.
- Read case studies – Ask for some case studies from the group, as they may be able to give you some kind of information to read about and learn from.
Taking the time to carry out these basics of reading, learning and listening will ensure you’re on the right track to becoming a more established volunteer. It can be hard to do this on your own but taking the time to master it all and understand the implications – and the potential benefits – of volunteering to learn will ensure you get a lot more out of your time spend volunteering.
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