Volunteering is a great way to gain new skills, meet new people, give something back to your community and have fun in the process. However, to make sure you get the most out of your volunteering you should also think about ways that you can have your commitment, skills and experience recognised. Here are some of the programmes that allow you to recognise your volunteering:
Millennium Volunteers recognises the volunteering of young people aged 14-25. You receive a certificate from Volunteer Now and the Department of Education after you complete 50, 100 and 200 hours of volunteering. It's free, straight forward and can be completed through 300 organisations across NI, include most schools, colleges and universities. Find out more.
Many colleges and universities also have recognition schemes to make sure you get the credit you deserve - some of them are below. To find out what your college offers, contact your careers department.
- Queen's University Belfast: Degree Plus
Degree Plus allows Queen’s students to gain accreditation for skills developed outside of their academic programme through, for example, part-time work, volunteering or involvement in the various sports, clubs and societies that the University has to offer. Additional courses may also be included, for example, the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), languages training and career development programmes offered by Careers, Employability and Skills. Opportunities to study overseas are also recognised, including the Erasmus programme, which allows students to study in Europe for a year, Study USA, Study China, and the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, or IAESTE, a worldwide student exchange programme. Find out more.
- South Eastern Regional College: Get the Edge
South Eastern Regional College helps students to develop their 'Edge' by giving them as many opportunities as we can to gain better skills and real life experiences. This can make all the difference when applying for jobs or higher education courses in the future. Activities include: Get the qualification they need Improve their skills; pick up brand new skills; build a CV to be proud of; work on projects for real businesses; set up their own business; and sample life in their future industry. Find out more.
- University of Ulster: The EDGE Award
The award has been designed to enhance the employability of Ulster students by providing official recognition and evidence of activities outside your programme of study. It is taken in addition to your degree and it is free to enrol. For the award you will take part in a wide range of activities to enhance your career prospects and also to show future employers you are committed to developing your personal skills. When you graduate from Ulster, the EDGE award will appear on your official transcript - giving you the 'edge' in your career. Find out more.