Student Volunteering Week

Student Volunteering Week

As part of Student Volunteering Week 2019 (11th – 17th February) we interviewed a number of our volunteers who either are or were students when they started volunteering for Speak With IT. We though we would share this one, from current volunteer, Emily. Emily is one of our longest serving volunteers, starting as a student volunteer, Emily is soon to become part of our Speech and Language Therapist Network!

I have been a volunteer for SWIT since August 2017. After completing my postgraduate SLT degree in Edinburgh I was eager to volunteer for this charity when I moved back home, knowing that it would complement my future job applications and also add to my own experience in working with adults.

As volunteering for SWIT primarily involves providing therapy for varying speech and language difficulties, this tied in perfectly with my recent studies. Even after I qualified as an SLT I still felt that I wanted more experience working with people and recognised that this specific volunteer opportunity would also give me a boost in job applications because it involves working directly with adults who have communication difficulties; these opportunities are few and far between.

After just two months of volunteering with the charity I began applying for Speech Therapy jobs (with SWIT added to my CV) and the responses came back thick and fast; I was invited to four interviews within just one week. I then was at a real advantage and chose to accept the job offer which sounded most appealing to me: they seemed to respond well in the interviews to the fact that I volunteer for a charity that provides a type of speech therapy because clinical skill is core in the field of SLT.

Now I am a Paediatric SLT working full time, volunteering for SWIT on weekends. I am also about to begin working for SWIT as a SLT which will incorporate assessing new clients and providing therapy suggestions for new volunteers. I feel privileged to be able to work with both children and adults now as I still can’t decide which client group I like best!

For me, the best thing about volunteering for SWIT has been the flexibility of the role and the lovely relationships I’ve developed with the clients who I support; they are all so incredibly appreciative of your time and company, as well as your help to improving their communication skills. This volunteer role is extremely rewarding, and the support given from the charity if you bet a bit stuck or have any questions has been great.

My advice to any volunteer is to always ask questions, to both the charity and the people you visit. Ask what your client’s goals and interests are, get to know them and let them get to know you. Sometimes your visit might be just for a chat and that’s fine, you’ll always come away feeling you’ve done something worth while.

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