There are many benefits that can be gained from volunteering with the IET, for both you and your employer.
The benefits of volunteering can be enormous to you, and to your employer. With busy lives, it can be tempting not to make the time to give something back. However the right opportunity can help you find new contacts and friends, learn new skills, and even advance your career.
Volunteering is a great way to make new contacts and friends, particularly if you are just starting work or are new to an area, allowing you to broaden your support network and exposing you to people with common interests.
While some people are naturally outgoing, others find it less easy to build relationships when meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, in a safe environment, with a group of people with common interests.
Working in a team of peers and perhaps taking responsibility for driving an activity can also provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as providing you with a natural sense of accomplishment.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in your field – it may even expose you to companies that could be of benefit to your career in the future. Networking with peers in your industry will not only expand your knowledge, but can allow you to benchmark yourself and your organisation; bringing new understanding to your work.
Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop new skills.
It can help you build upon competences you already have and use them to benefit the wider community. For instance, offering to speak at a careers event about your experiences would not only benefit those thinking about their career choices but will also help you in developing and improving your public speaking and communication skills.
Some roles also provide the chance to gain career enhancing skills such as influencing, negotiating, chairing meetings, project management, and guiding others – so you can grow your experience outside the scope of your current job role.
Through volunteering you will meet many interesting people – some who will become lasting contacts but all could be informal mentors to help your career.
Training undertaken as part of your volunteer role can also contribute towards your continuing professional development (CPD).
"I'm passionate about building skills so I feel privileged to be
David Owen MIET
There are many volunteer opportunities available through the IET. The key is to find a role that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organisation’s needs. The following questions can help you narrow your options:
"Sometimes you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in."
Sam Hubbard MIET
It is widely accepted that volunteering develops personal and professional skills that are brought back to the workplace.
Of course not all volunteering delivers the same skills development. The range of volunteering activities is as diverse as a workforce. For some, the development of soft skills is the objective, e.g. teamwork and communication skills. For others, the skills development is closely aligned to business needs including leadership and management skills. This is often the most expensive and difficult training to provide in the workplace but can be developed very successfully and cost effectively through volunteering.
One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is the networking, exposing your staff to others in your sector and the wider profession. This can reap rewards in bringing in new thinking and understanding, testing assumptions and broadening employees perspectives.
Employee volunteers are more enthusiastic, motivated and engaged with their employer resulting in higher productivity, reduced sick leave and greater staff retention.
Employers benefit from their improved reputation with existing and potential employees, customers, partners and stakeholders through their employees’ volunteering as well as being able to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility.