Student Volunteering Week: the route to employment – Humankind

Student Volunteering Week: the route to employment

While studying for a master's degree, Megan Wilson began volunteering for us in Leeds. Her experience put her in a great position to secure a full time position with us once her studies were finished. Read her volunteering story and advice below.

How did you first hear about Humankind? What made you want to start volunteering with us?

Whilst finishing up my master’s in forensic psychology, I wanted to do some volunteering to get some experience in the field. I was researching online and came across Forward Leeds. I thought that the work they did was really interesting and would be a great place to gain the experience I was looking for. I applied to volunteer and was happy to see I got the role!

What was your volunteer role and what skills did you gain as a volunteer?

When I first started my volunteer role, I was on the FIT team. I mainly shadowed people, and gradually gained some responsibility of my own. I began doing assessments with some people who were coming to the end of their treatment, which was helpful in getting familiar with speaking to people we support. I also sent letters to people and spoke to pharmacies.

I then moved into the Criminal Justice team, adding doing scripts and prescribing to my role. When I started my paid role with Humankind, I realised just how much getting the experience through volunteering helped me. I did as much extra training as possible on Learningkind (Humankind’s training portal), but the hands-on experience really helped my confidence in getting stuck in with the role. I was supported in any opportunity I wanted to gain skills in.

When did you start working at Humankind? How did that come about?

When I moved into volunteering with the Criminal Justice team, I became aware of a paid role coming up at the same time I was handing my dissertation in. When it came around, I applied for this paid role, knowing that I was in a good position due to my volunteering. I received some help from the Volunteering Team, with Carys (the Regional Volunteer Team Lead) coming in to do some interview prep with me. This really helped my confidence, as we worked together on preparing some great examples from my volunteering for the interview.

How did you find transitioning from your volunteer role to employment?

I was a bit nervous when I started my employment as it meant starting to complete a lot more on my own, but it helped me to know that I wasn’t starting completely in the dark with anything. I continued shadowing for a few weeks in my new role (making lots of notes along the way), then I knew it was time to get stuck in. Hands-on learning really helped me in the paid role.

What do you hope to achieve in the future of your role or beyond?

I want to continue getting more experience within the Criminal Justice team, especially with anything that aids the forensics side of my master’s course. I think it would also be interesting looking at continuity of care within prisons or working alongside the in-reach hospital team.

What advice would you give to someone that’s considering volunteering/working at Humankind?

Being quite a nervous person, I tend to put things off a lot. However, with volunteering, you should definitely throw yourself into it and do everything whilst you can. The skills come so much quicker this way, and it makes you feel a lot more comfortable and confident in the environment.