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Why it’s a great time to try volunteering

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 07 Nov 2020

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Volunteering offers opportunities for you to give something back and develop much sought-after professional skills in the process. It all boils down to finding the right opportunity for you

Despite the pandemic, the opportunities to give up some of your free time for the benefit of others are bountiful. Indeed, the current economic uncertainty is likely to drive up demand for volunteers.

So why is volunteering such a good idea?

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes and the community. But giving up your time for others is far more than altruistic. According to the Mental Health Foundation, volunteering can promote positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness. 

Volunteering can also be a great way to broaden your skillset, plug skills gaps on your CV and demonstrate much sought-after competencies to future employers if you have been made redundant or are looking for a training agreement, says James Brent, a director at recruiter Hays Accountancy & Finance. “You might pick up communication, listening, problem-solving and leadership skills, which are highly transferable and beneficial to your overall career.” 

Liz Sebag-Montefiore, career coach and Director of 10Eighty, says taking on a voluntary role can also help you learn about yourself and understand your values, motivation, skills, and interests, and gives you a chance to find out how other people view you and your strengths.

In addition to honing new skills, the right volunteering match can help you to find friends, connect with the community and ultimately help you advance your career as a chartered accountant by expanding your network, Brent adds.

Where do I start?

Our 500 hours campaign is tapping into the collective desire among students and members to give something back while at the same time helping to broaden the understanding of chartered accountants among students at schools and universities. 

With the ongoing pandemic, ICAEW is working hard to ensure students from all backgrounds have equal access to careers education and we need your help to do it. Collectively, ICAEW has set a target of 500 hours of volunteering to schools and universities across the UK in the 2020/21 academic year donated by fellow members and students. 

There are a range of opportunities for you to get involved in, from participating in mentoring programmes and careers fairs to delivering presentations to students about your career to date or the realities of working and studying for the ACA, or becoming a champion of diversity for your region.

For the foreseeable future, all ICAEW volunteering opportunities will be completed virtually as per government guidelines and we will provide you with all the support and resources you need. “By donating just one to two hours of your time to local schools and universities, you’ll be giving back to your local community and making a crucial impact on the future of the profession by inspiring the next generation of ICAEW Chartered Accountants,” explains Katherine Rose, ICAEW Marketing Manager, Volunteers.