Hannah, London

Hannah Knight is a 22 year old graduate from Oxford University who works as a volunteer coordinator for a social enterprise called Oxbridge Interviews. It gives free practice interviews to Oxbridge applicants by recruiting volunteers from the university’s alumni.

 

Hannah believes that her volunteering experiences secured her the job. She says,

 

“Volunteering is the only way to get into a job in the charity sector and so because I really wanted a job in charity I knew that I’d have to do as much volunteering work as I could.”

 

Before gaining her job Hannah had been unsure what area she wanted to get into. As a charity representative at college she really enjoyed charity work, in particular running fundraising events.

 

She did an internship at the Charities Advisory Trust, which she really enjoyed and this fuelled her interest in pursuing the idea of a career in the charity sector. Then, young and free, Hannah decided to pack her bags and head to India to teach English as a volunteer. She loved it and as a result became addicted to volunteering.

 

When she arrived back in the UK she quickly became a volunteer in a local charity shop and also signed up to TimeBank the national volunteering charity that supports people to find rewarding volunteering and designs volunteering to have an impact on the volunteer, the community or the cause.

 

In the monthly newsletter, Hannah spotted what she thought was an interesting volunteering opportunity and only required an hour a week of her time. She signed up online straight away to Digitall, a one-to-one mentoring scheme run by TimeBank where young people act as mentors to older people over a period of 12 weeks to help them achieve their computer goals.

 

“It took me 20 minutes to sign up,”said Hannah, “and I had an immediate response where I was matched with my mentee within a week.”

 

Hannah mentors Mireille Hoch, a 63 year old French lady from Kilburn. Before meeting Hannah the only knowledge of computers that Mireille had was at the hotel where she worked as a maid for 15 years where part of her job was to order the flowers and linen – but that was all in numbers.

 

“Friends started talking to me about doing their banking on the computer and booking their Eurostar tickets online and I started to feel stupid that I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. I didn’t know you could do all that on the computer”Mireille says.

 

I felt like I was loosing out on life so that’s why I signed up to Digitall. Now I’ve met Hannah who is marvellous - she’s patient and kind and I’m so lucky to have her all to myself. I’ve learnt how to email my family and I’ve even started to book my Eurostar tickets online too. Next, Hannah’s going to teach me all the shortcuts and how to search for things. It’s all so exciting and I can’t wait to learn more!”

 

Hannah adds,

 

“Through Digitall I’ve realised that I really enjoy front line work in a charity like mentoring but I’m equally as interested in project management – it feels great to know what I want to do for a career now. Working on the Digitall project has given me the experience I need to apply for charity jobs and I’ve learnt so much about the sector too. Not only that but using my knowledge of IT to help an older person find out basic but useful things about the internet like communicating via email and searching for cultural events and booking travel, is really rewarding.

 

TimeBank made finding volunteering work so easy for me. Through the monthly newsletter I am constantly updated on new volunteering opportunities and ideas – it just appears in my inbox which means I don’t have to search for things at all! From the newsletter I also found out about becoming part of the Youth Advisory Group which I have enrolled on to. Now I’ve got even more to add to my CV – the fact that I am going to be involved in ensuring the organisation has a real steer from young people will really develop my skills and give me fantastic experience.”