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Volunteer Work

Volunteering: get involved...

Volunteering is all about getting involved and making a valuable contribution — to individuals in need, to society as a whole and to your own development. Being a volunteer can open up a world of opportunity on both a personal and professional level.

Assignments can take you from teaching hip-hop dance in the Australian outback, to improving habitats for endangered wildlife, or building a new school for children in Ecuador.

It can be a one-off experience or an on-going commitment, but either way volunteering is guaranteed to change the way you view the world and your place in it.

In terms of improving your employment prospects, potential employers know that volunteering requires commitment, motivation and energy, so they look favourably on applicants who have volunteered.

Volunteer organisations websites:

For information about volunteering overseas see
Volunteering Overseas section of this site.

Leading by Example: PwC Foundation

PricewaterhouseCoopers, a worldwide giant in corporate business services, has been leading the way in corporate social responsibility since 2002, with the launch of their charity arm, the PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation.

The PwC Foundation exists to provide support to communities and organisations in need, through hands-on projects, pro-bono assistance and sharing of expert knowledge. In 2006, 44 per cent of PwC staff participated in volunteer activities across Australia.

Director of the PwC Foundation, Kathryn Wightman-Beaven, says staff are very passionate when it comes to supporting charitable causes, originally nominating a possible 800 organisations before deciding on the final list of 21.

But what’s in it for me?

Kathryn believes the benefits of volunteering are multi-dimensional.

“Connection with your community means you really understand what goes on, the issues and the big picture stuff.”

Involvement in volunteering gives individuals a broad social grounding and an ability to engage with their community.

“It means you come back from this experience and think about giving back. You spend time with colleagues you wouldn’t normally work with. You start to think about actions and consequences – and responsible leadership. To be a good leader, you need to understand the issues facing society and relate to people on their own terms.”

Advice for students?

As volunteering can sometimes involve fairly confronting situations, Kathryn recommends researching thoroughly before making a commitment.

“As you would for any career decision, work out what you want to achieve. Evaluate what you feel comfortable with. Once you decide it’s for you, make a connection with your community and get out there and do it.”

Article written by Ebony Frost, Careers Consultant, Curtin University of Technology.

This article is taken from the 2007-08 edition of Graduate Careers Australia's employer directory Graduate Opportunities .

© 2007 Graduate Careers Australia