Written by Muna Rahman, volunteer at Real Ideas Organisation
Volunteering for a social enterprise has many advantages. It helped me to develop and gain new skills and provided me with an active role in my local community. I made new connections, and it gave me a sense of belonging, which is particularly great for students like me who have moved away from home and may be feeling lost or homesick.
My experience volunteering with RIO (the Real Ideas Organisation) was extremely positive – I got involved in a wide variety of projects and events with all sorts of people, from children in local schools to older people. Volunteering with RIO was extremely flexible and easy to fit around my studies. I was able to choose the activities which I felt I could be most useful in and could change the amount of time I dedicated to volunteering depending on my workload. RIO supported me to be creative and take ownership of ideas and plans for various events and activities. They valued my ideas and helped me to put them into action.
I also got rewarded as a volunteer. I have certificates that recognise the amount of time I dedicated to volunteering which are great evidence of my experience when applying for jobs and in interviews with future employers, I also got lunch and travel costs reimbursed.
Volunteering with RIO provided me with valuable skills and experience, which have complemented my degree and been relatable to my career. I think all students who volunteer with RIO or any other social enterprise will find it an enjoyable way of developing skills outside of academia and I encourage them to consider what opportunities they can explore.