University students queue to give back to the city

IMG_0223 (1)Queues of students at the University of Portsmouth trailed back around the block last week as nearly 1000 students waited to gain entrance to the annual volunteering fair hosted by the Careers and Employability Service, formerly Purple Door. The fair provided a fantastic opportunity for 45 local third sector organisations to promote their volunteering roles to students who are all looking to give something back to the city they have chosen to study in.

As part of the current Education Strategy the University of Portsmouth is keen to ensure all students undertake at least one career enhancing activity whilst they are studying at the university and volunteering clearly falls into that category.

University and charity staff were overwhelmed by the positive response students gave to the fair this year. Students are clearly very keen to not only develop their own skill set and confidence through volunteering, but there is a genuine desire to support local charities and community groups.

A spokesperson from one of the local charities said “It was the best volunteer fair I have been too, your students are well informed and enthusiastic. Staff are attentive and despite the vast numbers of agencies they seemed keen to give each agency the personal touch and were eager to support us. Well done, a superb event.”

IMG_0105Students also felt inspired by the event; James Hoyle studying Maths said, “I loved the entire idea of the Volunteering Fair. It was an amazing way for me to gain practical experience in the fields I am looking to work in, whilst also giving back to others and giving me something unique to put on my CV, which I think will massively help me in the future whilst trying to get a placement.”

The Volunteering Team who process all the administration linked to volunteering applications had to draft in extra staff to ensure all applications are processed in a timely manner, and eagerly await to watch the number of students successfully placed as volunteers rise.

Jane Howe, Volunteering and Community Engagement Officer said ” There are so many wonderful charities and third sector organisations in this city that need volunteering support, and whose services can be improved by additional volunteers. It is very rewarding to hear how their service users benefit from our student volunteers, but is also so encouraging to see how these roles help develop confidence, resilience and new skills in our student population, which will ultimately benefit them in their graduate careers.”

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