• Benita's Volunteer Story
Benita work shadowing at a photography shoot

Benita studied Architecture in India and is studying a Masters in Interior Design at the University of Huddersfield. 
Listen to her story as she explains how volunteering is helping her gain experience in the creative sector and building important networks. 
In addition, the podcast also covers: 

  • How she found out about the opportunity
  • What benefits she has got from volunteering
  • How it has helped her mental health & wellbeing
  • How her travel expenses are covered
  • What skills she has gained through volunteering 
  • Her favourite experiences

with part time employment opportunities limited for teens and young adults. But universities and employers expecting you to have extensive experience on your CV or personal statement. Often the only way to acquire those essential employability skills is through youth volunteering. There is a wide spectrum of volunteering roles out there, ranging from helping patients at a health centre to improving your local environment by tree planting

There is a thriving community of young volunteers. We've sat down with a group of them in West Yorkshire to get the inside knowledge and why they do it, where they do and how you can get involved, too. My name's Graham Sykes and I run the youth agency Youth social and author of the book Destination Adulthood

I've been joined by Benita, who lives in Huddersfield. Hello, Hi. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? Well, my name is Benita and I am an architect

I've studied architecture back in India, and I've come to Huddersfield to study a master's in interior designing at the University of Huddersfield, and I've been here for about a year. Fantastic! And what volunteering roles have you done so far? I used to work at the Lawrence Barley as a volunteer. We get to welcome the audience coming in to watch performances and have an interaction with the audience in terms of where would they want to be seated or just helping them out? Also, I have supported the Globe art studio at their family drink making session

We just had to volunteer to help them out, conducting their workshops. I have supported the Grand North Ukulele Festival, and they had ukulele workshops. And just as a volunteer, we just had to make sure it's very smooth and just assist with anybody who's required any questions or something of that sort

So you saw that opportunity for volunteering. How did you take advantage of that? Did you have to apply? How did you make that initial inquiry? When I was on the website, I came upon the future creatives advertisement, and the description that was written was very straightforward. I sent an email

Then when I showed up for the induction, we had this introduction session where we had to introduce ourselves, and what expectations do we have from the volunteering project? So I imagine who is the coordinator who kind of help in the future as well, making sure that the workshops that are coming up is very aligned to what we want to do or pursue in the future. So I think that was one of the major reasons why I continued with future creative and being an international student. How long have you actually lived in the country? Just about a year

So have you found volunteering as builders networks and to meet new people involved in industries that you might want to work in? It has also, I think it's also help me understand what creative practises over your look like in India. It's very different as compared to how it's done in the UK. So I think that was one of the important thing that I I've understood as a volunteer is that I've understood how everything works over here, so that that was good

So how long have you been volunteering for? I think about eight months. And what benefits would you say that you've got from it? Oh, the many number one is that I've improved my soft skills. My confidence has improved

I'm able to have a conversation with somebody regardless of the topic. I think my social skills in that aspect has improved a lot. And sometimes, Well, I think, uh, volunteering is sort of helped me escape from everyday stresses of life because you're not really expected much

So I think mental health is also improved. So you mentioned your your mental health. How has it helped your mental health, or how is it Helps your well being

I'm normally I'm a very happy person. But sometimes I do have times when I'm, like, really sad or depressed, and I just do not want to get out of the house. So I think sometimes I do have sessions booked up volunteering, and that kind of helps me give me the motivation to get out of the house

And I think just the ability to just have that take the first step of just getting out of the house in itself has really helped me because I don't think about being stressed out or being depressed in that way. So you mentioned acquiring soft skills and that you've become more confident. Are there any other skills that you've gained, or how have you used the skills that you have gained through volunteering I think an important one is time management, because sometimes I do have to travel long distances to come up for volunteering sessions

And I'm really bad or I used to be bad at managing time. So this sort of help give me an opportunity to be better at it and manage my time and my daily activities. Also, I think dealing with people I mean public in general when I'm volunteering, because sometimes you do come across situations where you don't know what to do

And I think just the experiences of it has helped me getting better at how to deal with public. And you mentioned that you've travelled long distances. Does that have a cost for you in terms of volunteering? Yes, I do use public transport when I travel, but it's easier because future creative covers all the expenses that you do

It's very easy, so I think that's a good initiative from them. And do you think that volunteering is going to help your work prospects? I think so, because most of the activities and sessions conducted is from the creative aspect of it. Even just getting to know one person can open a lot of doors

So even just having been a part of the whole experience of shadowing or doing a conducting a workshop that has helped me understand where to look for jobs or what kind of job opportunities are available right now, do you find that through volunteering? Lots of people have been quite happy to share information with you in terms of where to look for jobs or how to get jobs. So far, people are very open and understanding as to the very accepting. And also they do want to help you out genuinely

What have been your favourite experiences as a volunteer? My favourite experiences have been I mean, I got to shadow a photography shoot at the Silkwood Studios. I got to do a promotional film for future Creative that went out on various different social media platforms. Those I think were most aligned to what I wanted to do professionally

And if anybody listening was considering volunteering, what would you say to them? I'd say Just do it. Don't think too much, even if it were like for one day, give it a try because you never really know. I mean, you might be interested in the future

I mean, I think just a part of helping somebody out is very rewarding and especially for future creatives, because it's within the creative aspect of it personally. Because I'm also a creative person. So I think it's very rewarding in that way

And I'm very grateful that I got to be a part of it. Brilliant. Well, thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story

And we wish you the best of luck in the future. Thank you for having me. OK, If you're aged over 16 and interested in becoming a volunteer, visit the N CV o

org dot UK website where you can find your local volunteering centre. Alternatively, search Google for volunteering in your local area.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.