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Five top tips for launching your career in the charity sector

Chloe JAckroyd6 February 2018

Anjali Dwesar manages Charity Apprentice  – an online course run by international development charity Child.org. Charity Apprentice is a free 10-month course that anyone can do in their spare time to gain the skills needed for a career in the charity sector. A combination of online learning and real-life challenges, the course has been designed by charity professionals and covers topics ranging from effective advocacy to social enterprise to fundraising strategy to sustainable development.

Anjali is here to give you her five top tips for launching your career in the charity sector.

  1. It’s all about the skills and experience
    The charity sector is extremely competitive, and landing a job in the sector isn’t based on good intentions unfortunately. In order to stand out amongst the other candidates, it’s really important to build up your skills and experience during your time at university and beyond. You need to demonstrate to employers that you’re qualified for the role and that you’re going to make a success of it. Of course, you must demonstrate passion for the cause of the charity – but ultimately, it’s your skills and experience that will get you the job.
  1. Find out what you’re good at
    The sector is hugely diverse, and there are such a wide variety of jobs available. Saying that you want to work for a charity is not enough – you need to think carefully about your skill-set and what you can bring to the sector. It’s not just campaigners, fundraisers or volunteer managers that the sector needs – there are jobs in designing, coding, project management, and many more. Explore the team page of charity websites and look at the kinds of jobs available – you might surprise yourself!
  1. Be impact-driven
    I’ve met some of the most passionate and inspiring people in the charity sector. Yes, it is a lovely place to work but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! If you’re working in the sector, your job is to make the world a better place and that’s hard work. You need to demonstrate in your applications that you’re driven by the question: how can I make the most impact in my job?
  1. It’s not what you know…
    Don’t rely on the big charity recruitment websites – smaller charities might not have the budget to post their opportunities on there. Make sure you’re using lots of different tools to find out about job vacancies, both online and offline.  Use LinkedIn, Twitter (#charityjobs), Facebook groups, attend charity networking groups, events etc.
  1. Don’t give up!
    You might not get your dream job straight away, but all experience you gain will be valuable. Say yes to opportunities and work hard – you will get there!

To find out more about Charity Apprentice, visit  charityapprentice.org.

 

 

Is a job in the media industry for you?

Chloe JAckroyd28 November 2017

Has the Media industry caught your eye as the next step after your degree? This week we are putting the spotlight on this diverse and exciting sector.

Perhaps you already know that PR is for you, or are you considering which role might suit you best within Publishing? Perhaps you have already tried your hand at documentary making!

We have some fantastic speakers who have kindly given up their time to come and share their experiences as part of Media Week.

The week kicks off on Tuesday evening with an insight into Publishing, where people working in a range of roles from freelance editing to trade marketing will take your questions. We are excited to have speakers from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan Children’s Books, Pearson Education join us.

On Wednesday we will take a look at what it’s like to work within Film, TV and Radio. Again, this is an incredibly diverse industry so we have been sure to have a range of speakers including a director, commercial and freelance producers.

On Thursday we’re delighted to have the UK’s number one ranked NCTJ journalism school News Associates join us to run a journalism workshop.

Finally on Thursday evening we welcome speakers from the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Macmillan Cancer Support, Periscopix, Redscout and WPP to talk about the fast paced world of Advertising, Marketing & PR.

Of course working in the Media is not all about partying with celebs! As with any job, there’ll be the good stuff and the more challenging parts. It’s important to consider what your expectations of working in a media role are. If you are looking for a 9-5 job, then it might not be for you! It often involves hard work and long hours, and at weekends. That said it can be positively challenging and rewarding. UCL Careers’ Media Week events give you the chance to find out what a ‘day in the life’ is really like and whether it might be for you.

We appreciate the events have booked up quickly but we’re really pleased to say we will be recording each event and also writing a short blog, so if you’re not able to join us in person, you can still find out more. We will specifically break down the different areas and provide some top tips. A look at Prospects.ac.uk shows just how many roles there are within the Media industry. Prospects also breaks down the different roles within Advertising, Marketing & PR. Check out the different job profiles and watch this space for our next Media Week blogs!

 

Overcoming misconceptions about the fast stream and civil service – a UCL students insight

Chloe JAckroyd19 June 2017

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UCL masters student Georgina Evison

 

Throughout my undergraduate degree the Civil Service Fast Stream was no more than a blip in my peripheral vision. I vaguely heard friends mention that they were applying – a couple even said it was their dream post-uni job – but it never particularly piqued my interest and so I never enquired exactly what it was.

This was out of the idea that I didn’t want to go into politics – an idea that I now understand represents a distorted view of what the Civil Service actually is.

During one of the first weeks of my Masters degree, when I saw the Civil Service Fast Stream representatives on the UCL campus, it would be dishonest of me to pretend I walked over to them for any other reason than they were giving out free coffees.

About to go to work and feeling a bit sleepy, I thought I’d have a quick chat and be on my way; the thought that I might actually end up quite interested in something new didn’t cross my mind. The two women I spoke to explained about the various schemes and I began to understand the breadth of opportunities available within the Civil Service Fast Stream.

Before this, I had for some reason imagined that the Civil Service Fast Stream would essentially involve lots of admin and one single path for graduates. After a few minutes and lots of questions, I filled out a survey asking how likely I had been to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream prior to speaking to the representatives (not at all likely) and now (somewhat likely!) and continued on my way to work – coffee in hand.

I admittedly then forget about our conversation for a couple of days, at which point I discovered I had missed the deadline to complete the initial stage of the application.

Mildly disappointed, but with the thought of applying next year in mind, I didn’t give the Civil Service a great deal of thought until I received an email mid-January. I had completely forgotten that in filling out the survey I would be entered into a competition to shadow a senior civil servant for a day – the detail hardly registered in my mind given my minute chances of winning.

As a Human Rights Law Masters student, the opportunity to shadow a civil servant in DFID (Development for International Development) was basically a dream prize, and when I looked up the bio of Ellen Wratten – who I would be shadowing – I looked on in awe at the list of accomplishments.

To be honest, I was a bit surprised that someone who had done so many cool things worked for the Civil Service. The day itself was an eye-opening experience to the realities of working not only in DFID, but for the Civil Service generally.

I arrived at 22 Whitehall and was given a quick tour before attending an event to celebrate and share the accomplishments of four different global development think tanks. The event was opened by MP James Wharton who gave a short speech about the various global development challenges that DFID is engaging with in order to try and positively impact on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world, in line with DFID’s goal to “leave no one behind”.

Everyone that I was introduced to seemed to do something different, and they all had a few encouraging words for me when I explained about my own career aspirations. Having the opportunity to talk to Ellen afterwards made me see that despite the image of government that we see in the media – politicians standing up and giving speeches – it’s really the hundreds of civil servants working hard behind the scenes that are responsible for many changes.

I also realised that there isn’t a “type” of person that works in the Civil Service, something which a few of the people I spoke to alluded to as becoming increasingly important. The range of educational and employment backgrounds from which civil servants have come from is remarkable and definitely changed my perception of both the type of work that civil servants do, and the type of people who apply.

I’m grateful that I had this opportunity because otherwise the Civil Service Fast Stream would have remained a bit of a mystery to me, when in fact it’s something that I will enthusiastically apply to now. I would encourage anyone who was like me to just have a look and learn a bit more about the Civil Service Fast Stream because it’s easy to discount it as “not for you” when in fact there’s probably an opportunity to interest everyone.

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Profile – Georgina Evison

Georgina is studying a Masters in Law, specialising in Human Rights law at UCL. From 2012-15 she studied law at the University of Bristol. In the year between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees she did an internship with an NGO in Nepal for 4 months and then moved to Paris to work as an au pair and English tutor and improve her French. Georgina grew up in Sheffield but moved to Toronto when she was 11, and moved back to the UK for university. She is interested in human rights law issues – particularly relating to privacy and security law, freedom of religion, and children’s rights. Outside of academics, she likes reading, languages, running, and cooking. Upon finishing her Masters she’d will be working for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse as a paralegal.

Summer Internship Opportunities Exclusively for UCL Students

Chloe JAckroyd8 February 2017

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UCL Careers Summer Internship Scheme

We will be advertising paid summer internship opportunities exclusively available for UCL students and graduates to intern at London-based Small – Medium Enterprises (SME).

“I didn’t have any defined expectations, but I really didn’t expect to have such a wonderful time. I was/ am so happy to go in to work every day because I really loved the company atmosphere, and really respected and got on well with my co-workers. I feel like I wasn’t treated like an intern or the youngest member of the team (which I was), but was given responsibilities and respected on an equal footing. I learned a lot of things that I had no real comprehension of before the internship. I genuinely feel like I was helping out as well.”
Vesa Popova – UCL BASc Arts and Sciences – graduating 2018

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In association with Santander Universities, we are providing subsidised funding for internships, paid at the London Living Wage, across our summer scheme.

The subsidized funding will support the training allowance for UCL students or recent graduates to work as interns with small-medium-sized businesses for 6 or 8 weeks full-time during the 2017 summer vacation period (June – September).

Internships will be available in a range of sectors including:

  • Consultancy
  • IT/tech
  • Engineering
  • Arts/Culture
  • Life Sciences/Health
  • Finance
  • Social Sciences/Media

Applicant Eligibility

You will need to be eligible to work in the UK full-time during the internship. If you are on a visa, your visa must cover the full duration of the internship.

Please note: UCL Tier 4 Postgraduate (Taught and Research) students are not permitted to work in excess of 20 hours per week for the full duration of their degree programme. This includes the summer vacation period. UCL is unable to issue a visa for the Summer Internship Programme therefore UCL Tier 4 Postgraduate students are not eligible for this scheme.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are eligible for the scheme and comply with UCL sponsorship duties and visa regulations before submitting an application. It is the responsibility of the business to check their intern’s eligibility to work in the UK taking into account the above regulations.

The Timeline

  • Internships will be advertised on the UCL Talent Bank website from mid-February to Friday 31st March.
  • You will need to submit your CV, and a tailored cover letter online for each application you make.
  • Follow us on social media to hear about each role as it goes live Twitter and Facebook search: UCL Careers
  • Each employer will receive a shortlist of the best applications for their role. They will then invite UCL students and graduates to interview.
  • Prospective interns should know if they have a place on the scheme by mid-May, so please bear this in mind when making vacation plans.
  • Once the employer has made an internship offer and you have accepted that offer, UCL Careers will send both you the intern, and the employer, an agreement letter each to fill in and return to UCL Careers.
  • Funding for the internship will not be released to the organisation until we have these completed letters returned.
  • Internships will commence as follows:
  • 6 weeks starting 12th June and ending 21st July 2017
  • 8 weeks starting 12th June and ending 4th August 2017
  • 6 week starting 10th July and ending 18th August 2017
  • 8 weeks starting 10th July and ending 1st September 2017

Get involved and get that internship!

  • Prepare: Keep an eye out for our CV and cover letter writing workshops at the end of February, as advertised on our Careers Essentials webpage: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/essentials
  • Perfect: When you know which internships you want to apply for, you might want to book in for an Applications Appointment to make sure your application documents are competitive with other applicants’.
  • Apply: Register on our UCL Talent Bank website with an up-to-date CV.

NOTE FOR THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY IN CONTACT WITH A COMPANY ABOUT AN INTERNSHIP:

If you are already in contact with a small-medium-sized company who is hoping to offer a summer internship to you, which would benefit from some financial assistance, please encourage them to contact us by sending an email to Laura: l.radford@ucl.ac.uk

The proposal form we will ask all companies to complete about their vacancy will ask the question of whether they already have a student or graduate in mind to hire. If the company and the internship proposed meet our criteria, the internship will be reserved funding without having to be advertised.

Lastly, if you know of an organisations who you feel would be interested in participating in this scheme, please direct them to further information for employers here: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/careers-employer-engagement/2017/01/09/ucl-careers-summer-internships-scheme/

 

 

Are you interested in real-life experiences of students and graduates looking for work?

Chloe JAckroyd7 February 2017

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Are you following The Great Grad Job Hunt channel on YouTube? It’s a great project which aims to help students and graduates discuss job-hunting and will create an online series that documents the real-life experiences of students and graduates looking for work.

Tania, a post graduate from UCL, on understanding e-trays, how they work and where to find them – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOJb4BrNpTo

In this video Tania, a UCL graduate, talks about how you can practice e-tray exercises before an interview or assessment centre and the online tools available for this.
You might be interested to know that UCL Careers has access to Assessment Day, the online resource mentioned here, which provides a practice e-tray activity as well as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, inductive reasoning, logical reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning tests. To register ans access the subscription-based test materials on the Assessment Day website for free, all you will need is your UCL email address. Recent Graduates should read the information about “Email for Life” on the Alumni Relations website for details on accessing your UCL email account after graduation.

You can also find other resources to practice assessment centres and psychometric tests by logging into Careers Tagged: http://www.careerstagged.co.uk, and follow The Great Grad Job Hunt Here  where they’ll be covering CV tips, interview preparation and much more.

 

Green Shoots Link-Up

Chloe JAckroyd1 February 2017

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As part of Charities and NGOs themed week, we have asked one of the London-based charities attending the Link-Up event to introduce themselves to you in advance.

Muneezay Jaffery tells us about her charity Green Shoots Foundation and the internship opportunities available to UCL students. (The photo shows two interns in the Green Shoots Office in Lavender Hill.)

Please tell us about your charity
Green Shoots Foundation is a small charity set up in 2010, by Jean-Marc Debricon, who aimed to make use of his finance and banking background for more worthwhile and long-term projects. In the past seven years, our small team has established three main programs in seven countries. Our work pertains to skills training, be it medical for HIV treatment in Myanmar, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan or agriculture skills in Cambodia and the Philippines. We also facilitate educational loans for social entrepreneurship in India.

Green Shoots started out with a microfinance focus but very quickly developed into adopting a skills-based approach. We believe investing in people and, then making loans, improves livelihood opportunities and brings about sustainable transformations. For example, our work in Cambodia for the past three years has focused on updating and bringing sustainable agriculture skills to government run schools in rural areas. Now, as we transition to the next stage, we are taking an enterprise approach and will focus on the cultivation of agri-business ideas. In all our countries of operation we work with trusted local partners rolling out projects on the ground.

What activities have previous UCL interns been involved in whilst volunteering at Green Shoots and what can an intern expect when they first start?
UCL interns have been instrumental in helping us with fundraising in the UK. This can involve everything from managing the database of trusts and foundations, to writing grant applications and researching new opportunities. With a recent intern, we have diversified our fundraising strategy to include the approach of “twining” with local schools. This has proven to be successful as we approach local primary schools to buddy up with schools in Cambodia, exchange letters and photographs but also fundraise with us throughout the year.

How have interns developed their employability whilst they have been working with you?
By working in fundraising candidates, especially those interested in Global Development or charity sector careers, learn the basics of grant writing- what makes a good application and how to structure proposals. Transferable skills such as time keeping, being organised, and writing formal correspondence are also ways interns have developed their employability. Our office environment is quite friendly and laidback. As we share it with another charity, interns are able to participate in team meetings and contribute towards day-to-day running. Whilst at Green Shoots they also get the opportunity to attend relevant training events, panel discussions and make use of networking opportunities.

What advice would you give to UCL students and graduates who may be looking to set up a charity or similar organisation?
Although it might seem out-dated, when it comes to setting up a charity or deciding on a project, thinking in terms of Theory of Change and working backwards is a good way to start. By this I mean, knowing the impact you want to make and then figuring out how to go about it.  This approach also helps tremendously with decision making for activities, setting realistic and achievable goals and constantly thinking about how to measure and report them.

Being transparent and accountable towards the individuals we work with and to donors we raise funds from should be the first rule for being involved in the charity sector and I always find fundraising is a good way to understand that relationship.

Find out more:
http://www.greenshootsfoundation.org/

The Green Shoots Foundation will have a stand at the Charities and NGOs Link Up event this Thursday alongside other organisations including Oxfam, The Children’s Trust, The Challenge, Ark Teacher Training, CharityWorks, Unlocked Graduates, UCL VSU, Sustrans, UCL Amnesty International Society


*Sign up to attend this event via your My UCL Careers account


 

Charities & NGOS Week – Pursue a fulfilling career in this sector

Chloe JAckroyd25 January 2017

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Charities and NGOs Week: 30th January – 2nd February 2017

Though important, there is so much more to working in the charities and NGOs sector than shaking a tin, volunteering or delivering aid to those in need on the frontline.  Many charities and NGOs are run as professional businesses that carry out functions such as research and lobbying, as well as raising and redistributing funds.  In the pursuit of addressing human or environmental needs, the sector can be intensely competitive in terms of attracting media attention, funding and other resources.  Most non-profit organisations rely on paid staff as well as volunteers and the sector attracts intelligent people with a passion for their work.

UCL Careers Charities & NGOs Week 2017 aims to dispel some of the myths that surround working within this sector.  Through a series of four events, this themed week will provide students with an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the diverse range of roles available to them, from campaigning and policy work to international development and disaster relief.  The employer-led insight and applications session will help prepare students to demonstrate their motivation and enthusiasm and ultimately increase their chances of job success.  The final event in the series will provide an excellent opportunity for students to link up with employers, be inspired and pick up some top tips from the experts, who are currently working in the sector.

Charities attending include:

Oxfam
Greenpeace
MacMillan Cancer Support
Save the Children
Sustrans
The Wellcome Trust
Islamic Relief
and more…


For further details about UCL Careers Charities & NGOs Week 2017 including how to book:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/charitiesandngos

 

 

Thinking about working in museums, cultural heritage or the arts?

Chloe JAckroyd3 November 2016

MUSEUMSSo you think you might be interested in working in museums, cultural heritage or the arts but aren’t quite sure where to start? You’re probably not alone. Whilst there are broadly four types of museums and galleries in the UK – national, regional and local, university and independent  – these represent a vast array of collections, artefacts, objects, specimens and homes. From well-known and established collections to the history of anaesthesia it could seem a daunting task to know where to start.

In addition, unlike other sectors, there is no clear pathway for starting out your career, such as through a graduate scheme for example. Volunteering remains an important way to develop your interests and skills, though opportunities for paid work do exist. The good news is the sector requires people with diverse skills to thrive including education, programme, science, history, business, marketing, finance, and digital to name a few. And while funding cuts have meant that museums have to rethink the ways in which they operate, this also means that there can be lots of opportunity for those with creative ideas and an interest in innovating.

However, the sector remains competitive. Jobs in museums, galleries and libraries made up just 5% of jobs in the creative industries in the UK last year, a 6% increase since 2011 (Creative Industries: Focus on Employment June 2016). So being proactive, gaining valuable experience and making contacts is crucial.

London is an exceptional city in which to launch your career in this industry. With over 278 of the 2,500 museums in the UK located in London alone (Museums Association; Londonist) this city hosts a diversity of cultural places to work right on your doorstep. To help you explore the many options and opportunities for work in this sector, UCL Careers has organised a programme of panel events for Museums & Cultural Heritage Week beginning Monday 14 November: Museums Forum, Cultural Heritage Forum and Working in the Arts. A Museums & Heritage Volunteering Fair will also take place during the week.

Each panel event will feature expert speakers who will provide insight on the sector by sharing their own career journeys, their perspectives on what is currently driving the sector and what keeps them excited about this field. They will also offer valuable advice for those looking to get a foot in the door.

Kicking off the series is the Museums Forum featuring speakers from the Grant Museum, the Museum of London and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). Panellists for this event include:

Jack Ashby, Manager of the Grant Museum and former head of Learning and Access for all UCL Museums and Collections for a period over 2009 and 2010. Jack has interests in scientific communications and evolutionary biology.

Jackie Kiely, Curator in the Department of Archaeology Collections at the Museum of London. Jackie has published widely on Roman artefacts.

Danielle Thom, Assistant Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Danielle specialises in 18th century art and co-curated the exhibition A World of Fragile Parts a special project exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale running until 27 November.

The panel will also feature a current student who held a summer internship at the British Museum.

Register to attend this and the other events online via your ‘My UCL Careers’ account.

UCL Careers Museums & Cultural Heritage Week is part of the #UCLInspireMe series.

Other events in this series:

  • Museums & Heritage Volunteering Fair, 15 November @ 17:00
  • Cultural Heritage Forum, Tuesday 15 November @ 18:30
  • Working in the Arts, Wednesday 16 November @ 17:30

 

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Source: Walt Disney – Donald Duck – Modern Inventions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSohVE6Zmjc)

UCL Careers Essentials – New for 2016/17

Chloe JAckroyd3 November 2016

Screen Shot 2016-11-03 at 13.29.24 A series of lunchtime talks and experiential workshops providing insight, advice and interactive opportunities to engage with all aspects of careers management and navigating selection processes no matter where you are in your careers thinking.

From understanding the graduate job market to career decision-making; mock aptitude tests to interview success; finding and funding a PHD to getting to grips with Linkedin and social media – the programme aims to equip you with the essential know-how to begin to move forward and engage more confidently with ‘Finding your Future’.

Talks and workshops titles will be repeated on a regular basis in the Autumn, Spring and post-exam season. Please register to attend using the links below. For more information and to register to attend – http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/essentials

Essentials Programme


Improve your CV
7th November 1-2pm,
repeated 21st November 1-2pm

Did you know that the average employer can spend less than 30 seconds assessing a CV? Is it true that some employers ignore personal profiles? Should a CV be more than just a life history of everything you’ve ever done?

Find out how to market yourself effectively in a UK CV in this interactive session. We’ll simulate a CV sifting exercise allowing you to ‘sit in the recruiter’s shoes’ and assess multiple CVs under time pressure. Understand how to create a strong first impression, keep the reader’s interest and make your evidence ‘relevant’.
Book Now


Application forms, cover letters and supporting statements
10th November 1-2pm,
repeated 22nd November 1-2pm

Do companies use ‘killer questions’ to sift out weaker candidates in application forms? Does a recruiter pay more attention to a CV or cover letter? What’s the difference between a ‘functional’ and a ‘narrative’ personal statement?

In this interactive session, we’ll review motivation and competency-based application answers, assess sample cover letters and personal statements and get an insider’s view on what recruiters are really looking for.
Book Now


Succeeding at interviews
17th November 1-2pm

Did you know that most interview questions are predictable or that what you say can be less important than how you say it?

If you’ve been invited to an interview, you’ve already impressed but for most, interviewing is a daunting experience – so how can you navigate interviews successfully?

Find out how to prepare ahead for the types of questions you can expect, create a strong first impression and learn answering strategies for motivational, competency and strength-based questions. We’ll critique videos of graduate-level interviews and get inside the recruiter’s head to understand what they’re really looking for.
Book Now


To register and find out about future Careers Essential events – http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/essentials UCL Careers

Public Health Partnerships & Programmes Manager at Body & Soul: Inspire Me

Weronika ZBenning31 August 2016

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Bianca shares her insight into how volunteering helped her to secure he rcurrent role at Body & Soul, an Islington based organisation that supports children, families and young people who have or are closely affected by HIV.  Here she talks to us about how the skills she developed while volunteering at UCL helped her get her current role.  For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, visit https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-careers/ and search #SMEProfile.

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“Volunteering is a win-win situation really. You are helping charities to be sustainable and supporting people in need but you also gain great life and work experience and are doing something meaningful with your time.”

Bianca Karpf graduated from UCL’s MSc in Medical Anthropology in 2013. As a student, she volunteered with HIV charity Body & Soul, with the Council for At Risk Academics , and for international health charity Medact.

Where are you currently working?
I’m currently working as Public Health Partnerships & Programmes Manager at Body & Soul, a charity which supports children, young people and families living with or affected by HIV. My role involves public sector engagement, making evidence-based cases for statutory investment, project management and development and measuring impact within the charity.

I am also about to start a new volunteering role as at Food Cycle, a charity tackling food insecurity through providing nutritious hot meals to those in need through surplus food donations from local businesses. I will be cooking meals and developing their community outreach.

What useful skills and experiences did you gain as a volunteer when you were at UCL?
So many! Patience was a key one for working with people on a frontline basis but also exercising empathy and being non-judgemental is an important skill to build trusting relationships with service-users. The experience of seeing how resilient and hopeful people can be even when they have lived through extreme hardship and terrible life experiences. I also learnt how to multi-task as I was juggling multiple commitments at the same time.

How has volunteering helped you in your career so far?
Volunteering as a research assistant during my time at UCL led to paid employment when the charity got a grant to develop the research. It also was great experience when I applied for research jobs in West Africa the following year.

Volunteering at Body & Soul inspired me to write about HIV and the voluntary sector in my master’s dissertation. That knowledge and the fact that I was already known to the charity as a hard worker and a loyal volunteer definitely helped me to get my current job here at the charity.

What would you say to UCL students considering whether or not to volunteer?
Volunteering is a win-win situation really. You are helping charities to be sustainable and supporting people in need but you also gain great life and work experience and are doing something meaningful with your time. It is a great way to break out of the student bubble, and an antidote to restlessness! Volunteering puts your own problems into perspective and introduces you to people from a really broad range of backgrounds.

You can volunteer in such a wide range of capacities that there is sure to be something that is your fit. It can be frontline and working with children or vulnerable adults, or you can volunteer/intern in an office gaining valuable work experience. At my current place of work we have volunteer complementary therapists, handymen, phone support volunteers and fundraisers so search what is right for you. Volunteer fairs are a great way of chatting to people from the charity and finding out about a broad range of organisations.

Interested in finding out more about volunteering? Visit UCLU Volunteering Services Unit’s webpages.