5 Reasons To Do Heritage Volunteering While Studying
The persistent problem of the modern day graduate is how to secure a career that requires prior experience. Often, a lack of qualifications prohibits you from gaining the chance for experience in the first place.
The heritage industry is known for being competitive. Previous examples of work are essential to gain those sought-after roles. Conversely, it’s easy to come by volunteering opportunities in heritage institutions. The skills that can be gained from these are enormously transferrable and add value to the arsenal of all graduates, not just those studying a history-related subject.
If the prospect of securing that job isn’t enough motivation, check out these reasons to volunteer in heritage.
It can be fun
Volunteering gives you the chance to flex your creative muscles. You can experiment with roles on a short-term basis. It is a chance to see what you do and don’t enjoy without any long-term commitment.
There are a diverse range of jobs on offer in museums and institutions. An education or outreach role working with children needs a volunteer who is enthusiastic and imaginative. It is more challenging than you might expect to keep the interest of school children. Working with collection displays requires a volunteer who has a creative eye and a sense of story-telling. It is more than simply arranging objects.
These roles are not only for history graduates. Nothing is lost in trying them out and one might surprise you.
Networking is a crucial aspect of job-hunting. As with all fields, it’s not what you know but who you know.
Time spent in an organisation gives you the chance to meet professionals working in the sector. These contacts can be invaluable when you look towards your next steps in the industry.
If you’ve banked some volunteer hours in an organisation, you are far more likely to get picked when a paid job comes up. Even if you only volunteered on the till or spent a summer sorting paperwork, it counts for a lot to have an employer recognise your face.
Any activities that build up your experience can give you the edge over the competition.
Organisations such as museums often engage in long-term schemes or exhibitions. If you have the chance to get your teeth into a project from beginning to end, it can be a valuable addition to your CV. As well as the skills required on the job, it shows your reliability and your dedication to a cause.
To have something tangible to show for your work is a plus. As heritage institutions rely on volunteers, they tend to show their appreciation. You are far more likely to have your name against a project at a small, local institution than a larger corporation. You can be given the freedom to exercise your own initiative and shine.
Make a difference
There are less selfish reasons to consider volunteering. A lot of articles have looked into the importance of a job feeling meaningful to the millennial generation. Working for non-profit organisations are a chance to give back to the community.
Heritage organisations operate both locally and abroad. Projects can be as diverse as encouraging learning in children, preserving sites of historic importance and raising money for vital causes.
Heritage institutions make it easy for you. Organisations such as the English Heritage and the National Trust are huge employers. They take on literally thousands of volunteers every year. They make it as simple as possible for you to join them. You can search for English Heritage opportunities by postcode here and for National Trust opportunities here.
It may come as a surprise to some students that university is the best time to undertake this sort of experience. Despite the academic workload, you will never have as much free time as you do as a student. It is the perfect time to dedicate a small amount of your schedule to a voluntary cause.
The time commitment is minimal and the benefits can be vast. What do you have to lose?
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for marketing internship roles and giving out graduate careers advice. To browse graduate jobs and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website.