Tanya Chiwuoke: 'If you’re considering volunteering, go for it!'

02 November 2015

Tanya Chiwuoke’s volunteering at Christian Aid helped her secure a permanent role there in the International Development Division as a Programme Support Officer. She explains more…

I’d volunteered for a human rights organisation while I was at university so I knew it was a good way to get experience.  It’s hard getting started in the international development sector and I needed to get as much experience as possible. I applied for a voluntary role at Christian Aid. Two weeks later, I started volunteering in their HR department.

My volunteering exposed me to different departments at Christian Aid. It gave me a better understanding of organisational functions and procedures. It also gave me ‘hands on’ work experience and further developed my understanding of how a large charity works. Someone thought of me when a job came up in their team and I applied and got it.  I’d started volunteering in the September and had a permanent job by the January. 

My current role is Programme Support Officer for Africa and I am responsible for supporting our in-country offices and being the point-of-contact between head office and country offices. By volunteering, I was able to gain exposure to the organisation and see which internal roles were of interest to me. 

If you’re considering volunteering, go for it! You have nothing to lose. It gave me valuable experience and exposure to the charity. It increased my confidence and employability. If you do decide to volunteer you should think about exactly what you want to do first. Volunteering is like a blank canvas. If you’re not working, you can find out what you want to do inside an organisation. Once you’re there, talk to people and network. It might well lead you to a full-time job.

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