Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity to recognise and thank volunteers across the UK from 1-7 June. ICAEW encourages members and students to offer their world-leading knowledge and skills to give something back and to help strengthen the charity sector.
ICAEW member David Hagger, a Senior Manager at PwC, has been a volunteer first aider for St John Ambulance since the age of 10. “Volunteering is in my veins,” Hagger says.
Hagger started volunteering back in 2000, joining the St John Ambulance Cadets. His job was to provide first-aid care to people in need at public events. This started at local community events such as summer fairs, football matches and the local school fetes, but with experience he went on to help at much bigger events such as the London Marathon and New Year’s Eve in the capital.
“You see things ranging from kind of minor cuts and grazes, where kids have fallen over, all the way through to more serious things. But virtually everyone we see goes away with a smile on their face,” he says.
The practicality behind accounting and volunteering
Hagger explains how a career in accountancy can help people to excel in their volunteering careers. Volunteering as a first aider is quite structured, in a way that means Hagger can put his name down for future events and plan them alongside his work as an accountant. Most of the events are on the weekend and the training is in the evening.
“You’ll appreciate that we work long hours, but everyone at PwC is really accommodating to make sure that in those busy periods I can get away to training meetings,” he says.
“But there’s an expectation that if you’re on the train or wandering round and someone collapses in front of you, you’d go and help because you’ve clearly had a lot more exposure to what you need to do in those situations.” Luckily, any time help is needed there has always been someone more medically qualified on the scene.
Accountancy lends itself as an ideal career to volunteer through for two main reasons, Hagger believes. “Your job is generally quite flexible to allow you to shift commitments and make time to do new things. Secondly, I’m able to apply some of the business skills I’ve learned.” Hagger also has a second volunteering role as the treasurer for his local cricket club.
Why consider becoming a volunteer?
Hagger’s message for those considering a volunteering role is simple: “Go for it – the breadth of opportunity is so great. St John is a really good example of the variety of volunteering opportunities, depending on the level of commitment you have to give,” he says. “Volunteers with St John can help out with the logistics of delivering events, work within the night economy or even progress to crewing ambulances, so you’re genuinely making a big difference as a volunteer.”
In general, Hagger recommends going for something totally different to the day job, as it opens you up to meeting a whole new range of people, from nursery teachers to office managers to maintenance workers. “It will provide massive exposure to different types of people who you wouldn’t normally meet in your day job.”
Hagger’s proudest moment as a volunteer so far is receiving a long-service award to signify 10 years with St John Ambulance. He is closing in on his next long-service award, which is to add a second bar to the service medal, due at the end of 2022.
Find a voluntary role today
ICAEW Volunteers is a dedicated website to connect charities with finance professionals looking for volunteer roles. The service is free for all not-for-profit organisations and volunteers to use.
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