Saturday, 27 October 2012

Thing 22 – Volunteering to gain experience

Thing 22 considers whether taking on volunteer roles can help to further your career. This one is a difficult one as you have to consider whether the role you are taking on is adding to the service you volunteer with or replacing staff already working there.

I have been engaged in 2 volunteering activities during my library career. I did both these activities while I was completing my masters. 

The first was to volunteer with an adult literacy class. I also completed a course to support adult learners during this time. Having spent my previous career welded to a pc I thought this was a good opportunity to work with different people and make a contribution. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it. 

The second activity was to volunteer to help with a short project at the university library. With a number of other students I worked under the supervision of the archives librarian. I think for me this was about just working in a library setting, showing willing and getting something to put on my CV.

I guess both these roles could have been completed by paid members of staff if the institutions had funds for it. I’m not really sure how much they would have contributed to achieving my first post, though my manager did mention the adult leaner support course as a plus point. So does this just play into the hands of managers who know that they can get someone to do it for free? There will come a point, of course, at which if there is no career to progress into, then there will be little incentive to work for nothing.

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