Meet Kay who found her ideal job thanks in part to volunteering with the county’s independent health and care champion Healthwatch Gloucestershire.
The 29-year-old from Podsmead, Gloucester, finished a degree in Public Health in 2014 and had been job-hunting for a career in this field. She applied for various Public Health roles but was told by many companies that she needed relevant work experience. That’s when she spotted a volunteer role with Healthwatch Gloucestershire.
Kay explains: “I decided to volunteer because I wasn’t getting the jobs I wanted so I could use my degree. I came across Healthwatch Gloucestershire through looking for jobs in Public Health online.
“The volunteer officer at Healthwatch Gloucestershire identified a project as something that matched my skill-set and that’s where I started to get actively involved.”
Kay got involved as a volunteer in the Food and Families Project, a short-term study into the food choices and options of residents in Podsmead run by Healthwatch Gloucestershire and research consultancy Evolving Communities, and it was through this that she applied for a job as a Community Researcher with the Gateway Trust.
Said Kay: “I got the job! Volunteering is a great way of opening many doors that couldn’t be opened before. I never thought volunteering could give me so many options in creating a career path that I’m currently going down.
“I would say to anyone thinking of volunteering and currently looking for a job – if you need to improve your career path, volunteering is a great way to start. Healthwatch Gloucestershire has helped me to use my degree and get the job I want.
“It has also helped me to see the great potential within myself. I get to meet new faces every day and on top of this I’m gaining so many experiences.
“Volunteering is the best thing that could ever happened to me. I’m glad I went on the job search engine that day in my life and came across Healthwatch.”
Healthwatch Gloucestershire are currently looking for new volunteers to help them to champion the views of the county’s residents. Roles vary from manning stands at community events, admin roles in the office or being a member of the steering group.
The Volunteer Officer at Healthwatch Gloucestershire, said: “Kay has been amazing to work with, so keen to learn and get out into the community to serve.
“We’re so pleased this led to her gaining employment. It’s thanks to volunteers like Kay that we are able to get out and about in the communities and listen to the views and experiences of so many on local health and social care services.
“We would love to hear from people, whatever their background, to fill one of our voluntary roles. People can make a real difference to their communities and help to shape their local health and social care services.”
All volunteers with Healthwatch Gloucestershire go through a full training and personal development programme. They are given a comprehensive volunteer handbook and welcome pack, as well as having access to an online volunteer portal with up to date policies and procedures. Out of pocket expenses are also reimbursed.
To find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch Gloucestershire call them on 01452 504989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk/volunteering