“I wouldn’t have a job in the Criminal Justice Sector without volunteering!”

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Olivia, Criminology & Psychology graduate, is now a Case Worker at Remedi, where she initially volunteered as a student. For more information about Remedi, and their work in restorative justice, visit  www.remediuk.org/

Hi Olivia, how did you get involved with Remedi?

I had a meeting with Sheryl, my Employability Adviser, and after talking about my interests she suggested that I contact Remedi to enquire about volunteering. The Derbyshire team offered me three sessions a week working on the Victim Support Programme.  I was responsible for making telephone contact with victims of all different types of crime and offering them help and support.

After about 5 or 6 months Remedi offered me some paid work on a temporary basis and then in June 2017 I was offered a permanent job on the Restorative Justice project!

Tell me a little bit about your current role

There are two strands to my job; one with young offenders and the other with adults. In my work with young offenders, I deal with people who have been referred from the Youth Justice Panels.  We have one-to-one sessions based around their conviction and we might do things like sending a letter of apology to the victim.  I also get to sit on Youth Justice Panels, which means I get to be part of the decision making process about what happens to an offender.

On the adult side my referrals come from Witness Care; if a victim shows an interest in restorative justice they are passed onto me and I make contact with both parties. Initially, I meet with the victim and the offender separately and then we decide what happens from there.

How did your degree prepare you for this role?

When I first started there was a lot of training based around theories of psychology and I was already familiar with most of it. Also, my degree gave me prior knowledge of community sentencing and the terminology used in Youth Justice Panels

What is the best part of your job?

I really like working with young people, and if I’d not volunteered I don’t think I would have considered it as a career option

What do you see yourself doing next?

More work with young people, maybe Case Management with young offenders

What advice would you give to new students starting at Hallam this semester?

Start volunteering in your first year! I left it until my final year and it was really difficult to fit around my academic study.

Thanks Olivia!

Make your mark by volunteering in 2017

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Every Thursday from 10.00am until 12.00pm, Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union (SHSU) will be running a drop in session in the Careers and Employability centre which focuses on the multitude of benefits that volunteering can bring. 

Volunteering can help you meet new people, gain invaluable experience, increase your employability and help your local community. There are hundreds of different projects for you to take part in, lasting from a few hours to a full year.

Volunteering Careers Drop In_University Screens

You’ll also have access to an exciting programme of socials, our coveted Volunteer Awards scheme as well as engaging training sessions and workshops to boost your employability.

Find out how you can make your mark on Sheffield in 2017 at our new informal drop-ins, taking place at the Careers and Employability Centre every Thursday, from 10.00am – 12.00pm.

No need to book, just turn up to find out more.

The best advice I could give students is to volunteer

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Psychology graduate Dani, shares about her current role as an Assistant Psychologist and highlights the value of gaining experience, both in demonstrating your skills to future employers and also in deciding on a career path.

Dani Mounfield at Graduation

Dani Mounfield at Graduation in 2015

“Since graduating, in 2015, I worked for a few months at a residential facility for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities before getting my current role.

I currently work for Chrysalis Associates (www.chrysalisassociates.org), a private company who offer therapy for children with attachment and trauma difficulties. As an Assistant Psychologist I complete assessments of the children, both pre and post therapy, looking into their attachment and trauma symptoms, as well as their behavioural difficulties and receptive vocabulary. Additionally I oversee childcare sessions, which requires me to ensure the children are as calm and regulated as possible; this can range from just one child to multiple at one time.

During University I took the Work Placement Module, where I worked for South Yorkshire Fire Departments Youth Service. I also completed a two day Mental Health First Aid Training course, which I would highly recommend, and training at Doncaster Prison, with the charity Catch 22. However most importantly I volunteered for around two years with my current employer, Chrysalis Associates, where my role was solely data entry. Arguably this volunteering was the most important factor in gaining my current job. Without my previous contact with Chrysalis Associates they wouldn’t have contacted me again to offer me an interview, which ultimately got me the job. Before the interview I read through all the reflection notes I had made whilst volunteering, this consisted of all the tasks I had completed and my thoughts and considerations of my time there. I also went through any notes and lecture slides I had from University that were relevant to the job role; additional to this I researched online, looking at what current literature was revealing about children with attachment and trauma difficulties.

In my job I use lots of skills that I learnt in University every single day, from my confidence and people skills to those more specific to psychology; report writing and data analysis. When thinking about my future I am hoping to get one of the very competitive places on a Clinical Psychology Doctorate. However until I can secure one of these places I am trying to build up my CV, with both paid and volunteer work.

The best advice I could give to current students is to volunteer; these days’ employers want you to not only finish university with a good grade, but also show that you are committed to your career path. Employers want to see that you have made efforts during university to go out into the working world and start to build up your practical skills. However, volunteering is also beneficial for yourself, it helps you to figure out what you’d like to specialise in. For example; throughout my first and second year I was confident that my main focus was forensic psychology, however after volunteering at Chrysalis Associates and having done training in Doncaster Prison, I realised that I was more interested and passionate about a clinical psychology career path.”

Volunteer your way to a Career

Hello my name is Gemma and I am on my second year of my History degree at Sheffield Hallam University. My main aim is to have a career in Archives and Museums as local and family history are two areas that I am very passionate about.

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Two years ago I started volunteering at an archive in Gainsborough which gave me some experience and helped me gain communication skills and increase my confidence. I am now getting more and more involved in different things that are happening or taking place at the Gainsborough Heritage Centre and I have now gained a free t-shirt!

Gainsborough Heritage Centre

But, this summer of 2014, I have done even more volunteering, working on two heritage projects, one in Sheffield and one in Lincolnshire. The Lincolnshire Remembrance Project held a trip to the National Archives, which for me was an absolutely amazing experience and seeing some First World War Service Records and then being able to write up some research about that was great for me. In Sheffield, I am volunteering on the Our Broomhall Project where I am gaining a lot of skills and working on a lot of different parts of the project. One of the out and about days that I took part in was going up high buildings to take aerial photographs of Broomhall which was fantastic!

I also volunteered for my village History Society researching and writing up some work for an exhibition they had over the summer which was great as I could get involved in my own community as well as communities in other places. Last of all I promise, I am also volunteering at Weston Park Museum for Museum Sheffield working on the handling tables which helped with my communication skills as I describe and engage the public with different types of objects.

Even with all of these volunteering opportunities I am taking part in, in my own time I am researching local history and family history as projects. These projects are what I am working on out of my own interest but this is building up my confidence in terms of knowing where and what to research in an archive. For example over the summer I learnt how to use the Microfiche and Microfilm machines. I also have been a Student Ambassador on open days which really helped with my confidence when taking people on tours of the University.

But your career is not just about getting good experience and getting involved it’s about using every single available source of information or help out there. You can’t plan which job you are going to get because that’s impossible but you can find something that interests you and get as many skills and experience as possible. You can use the career and employability centre as much as possible as that is what they are there for! For example, opportunities I am looking at to increase my skills and experience are the Hallam Award, the Career Mentoring Scheme and also the Applied History module on my history course.

Finally, as a second year student I have already gained a lot of experience and there is still plenty of time to gain more. I have another year or so to get even more help from the careers service for example on interviews and CVs. My top tip of advice is to not leave anything to the last minute, be organised and make sure you use as many resources as you possibly can and don’t be afraid if you are unsure of where to start. Varied experience around a few ideas will help you understand what you enjoy and what you do not.

Student’s African summer brings a wealth of experience

Last year we told you about Dan Garlick’s adventures with the Balloon Kenya project. This year, Megan Snape shares her story.

A driving force behind business innovation in Kenya

BK3 (2)Megan Snape, A Sheffield Hallam Sport Business Management student, recently received funding and support from Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union to spend her summer in Nakuru, the fastest growing town in Africa, as part of the Balloon Kenya programme. Balloon Kenya is an award winning social enterprise that brings students and graduates from around the world to work in Kenya for six weeks with budding local entrepreneurs, with an aim to tackle poverty and bring about positive social change.

Speaking to Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union upon her return, Megan talks about the application process, her time in Kenya and how the opportunity will help with her future career aspirations.

How did you find the Balloon Kenya Application Process

2014 was a busy year for me and I only slotted in my application between numerous library stints and meetings. It was only after I’d sent off my application at 4am, that I went back and checked the Balloon Kenya (BK) website and thought “I’m such an idiot, I remember now why it looked so good!”

How did you feel when you found out you had been successful?

When I found out I’d been successful I felt absolutely shocked! I’d been told I’d know the decision by the weekend, so by the following Tuesday I’d already beaten myself up about the interview and resigned myself to the fact I’d missed out on this amazing business project. So to then receive a call from the Students’ Union it was the most shocking thing I could think of.

Tell me about your Balloon Kenya experience?

I’ve always wanted to get out and do something worthwhile with my summer. But the idea of becoming your stereotypical ‘gap-yar’ student made me cringe. Especially whenBK2 (2) from the start I’ve been openly very selfish about my motives to travel and had no intention of pretending to be in love with a charity just to make myself look more employable.

I applied for BK because it sounded different to all the other charity programmes, but I never thought I’d learn so much or be so motivated by it. BK doesn’t give away donations- it teaches local entrepreneurs how to make business decisions based on evidence and research, something BK refers to as ‘challenging assumptions’. More than this however it taught all of us how to challenge our own assumptions about western business.

What was the highlight for you?

For me I never felt like I was working for a charity. The process wasn’t even a mentoring one in the end. It was a team effort between me, my partner and my entrepreneurs to get them a loan. They became the driving force behind their business innovation and pulled apart, scrutinised and tested my western ideas into something that suits their life, their family and their ambitions.

BK5 (2)I also satisfied my selfish ambitions. I met 23 other people with a passion for entrepreneurship and business. Overall we came from England, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Chili, Texas, Pennsylvania, Somalia and Egypt. We studied business, religion and philosophy, education, anthropology, responsible charity, music and marketing. Some didn’t even study, they travelled, had husbands, children and jobs. Between us we enjoyed Boxing, travelling, yoga, painting, fashion and drinking with the locals. We have met up since and are a very close group with many memories.

Would you recommend fellow students apply to for Balloon Kenya?

Without a doubt. I did it. I am terrified of flying alone, terrified of new places, new foods and new people. I think of myself as being a very independent person, but this was a huge learning curve for me. Some people were leaving the UK for the first time in their lives, others were seasoned travellers just joining in for 6weeks before continuing. You don’t need to already be studying business. People are accepted for all kinds of different reasons. Some were natural entrepreneurs, others were conducting research on music and politics. You just have to know why you want to go.

How do you think this opportunity will help you in your future career?

Before this process I was considering starting up my own business. Since BK I feel so much confident and capable of doing this and have learnt and practiced how to move it from paper to reality. I have a strong network of professionals and students, some of which have found job interviews for each other and all of which I know I could turn to for advice within their own industries. I feel confident saying I can consult, and am knowledgeable about responsible charity and working with other cultures.

Each academic year Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union offers funding for a student to complete the Balloon Kenya programme, applications for Balloon Kenya 2015 are now open.