Who are you?
My name is Christian, 30 from Swindon.
Computers, gaming, running
Experience in volunteering?
I started off doing some courses recommended through the job centre. One of the trainers there recommended that I started volunteering. Due to my knowledge and interest they started an IT course and I was offered the opportunity to help out with teaching and planning, with support to gradually increase my responsibilities. I worked there with people with a wide variety of health conditions.
What made you first want to start volunteering?
I was thinking about volunteering previously but struggling with confidence. I’d previously been in to the volunteer centre, however was feeling nervous about actually starting. The push from the trainer at my course was what I needed – I found it hard to say no. This worked out to be a good thing. Being out of work and lacking confidence, it’s really easy to forget you are capable of doing things. Having exposure to doing things reinforces your own knowledge of your capabilities.
Current voluntary activities?
I run a job club once a week with around 24 people per session. We help people look for work, write cover letters, use a computer and do C.V’s. I have also done mock interviews with people, especially people with AS find this useful.
Plans for future?
Volunteering has helped me a lot. My immediate future now is to start working. I have recently found full time employment working in the education sector. So my plans for the future at the moment are to be in learning environments – either schools or colleges. My particular interests are in working with people with Autism and Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC).
What would you say to anyone thinking about volunteering? Any advice?
I would say bite the bullet and do it. As soon as you break down that barrier that is restricting you from doing it, you will realise all the things that you have either forgotten or didn’t realise that you were capable of doing.
Anything else that you would like to add?
Volunteering has improved my confidence greatly and helped me realise my full potential. Without volunteering and breaking down that barrier I don’t know if I would be in the position I am now.