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myOpportunities: Volunteering and Mentoring: inspire and be inspired, teach and be taught!

I was lucky enough to attend a great event last week at the Barbican coordinated by the CIPD. The theme was Volunteering on Boards to build leadership skills, employee engagement and employer brand.

I am feeling inspired and want to share some links with you in case you’d like to get involved too. Ruth Stuart from the CIPD spoke about ‘Inspiring the Future’; a free initiative in which HR professionals volunteer in schools to help young people prepare for the world of work. Volunteers are matched with local schools and colleges to help students write CVs, prepare for interviews and help them to feel more knowledgeable and prepared in finding a job. Anyone can sign up and immediately help and inform these young people. Although I am in the early stages of my career, my previous role in recruitment has given me a very good understanding of what employers are looking for and how to get that across in a CV, cover letter or interview and I’m keen to pass this information on. Follow this link for more information.

The second initiative that Ruth talked about was ‘Steps Ahead Monitoring’; a free mentoring programme designed to link CIPD’s 130,000 HR professionals to young jobseekers across the UK. You may well benefit from being a mentor or a mentee! With fantastic statistics such as 73% of mentees finding employment after their mentoring period, this is an already successful scheme that is rolling out in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the next year. Visit the Steps Ahead Mentoring website to see how it could benefit you and your network.

Next, Jessica Stockford from Arts and Business gave an energetic overview of their work placing future leaders into voluntary board positions within Arts and Culture organisations.

The long list of benefits to those involved includes increased confidence, experience of governance and top-down leadership, working on something they feel passionate about and making decisions that are ‘ten years higher than their pay grade’. Friend to Jessica and champion of the scheme Mark Moorton, HR Director at Specsavers, strongly encouraged us to look into volunteering, saying the organisations are very respectful and appreciative that you have a full time job and that although being on a board requires time commitment, half of it you don’t notice as you’re having so much fun. The moment that widened my eyes was when Jessica dispelled the myth that you have to be ‘senior’ or of a certain age to become a trustee. Arts and Business run an under 30s programme and have recently helped a 26 year old to join the board at the Barbican. If you’re bright and ambitious, brush up on how to join the Board Bank!

Finally, Sam Bond and Melissa Rhamadan from Trade Secrets had us up on our feet, using simple and entertaining tasks that demonstrated how an action or way of communicating can drastically change our ingrained thoughts and behaviour. We’re inviting them to host our next workshop so myHRCareers members can have as much fun as we did. More about Trade Secrets in our next blog…

The event reminded me that whatever our age, industry or ambition, we all have skills and experiences that we can and should, share with others in order to help them move a step closer to where they’d like to be. In return, the knowledge and opportunities that we are looking for, whether consciously or subconsciously, will materialise



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