Blog: Building up experience

Michael Murray (left) during a university fair in Aberdeen

Michael Murray details his time as a Shelter Scotland volunteer

Before I applied to volunteer with Shelter Scotland I had always admired Shelter Scotland’s work and aims. The services Shelter Scotland provides for people who are having difficulty with housing or homelessness is sadly as important and needed today as ever. I thought if I could contribute to this work in any small way it would be something very worthwhile doing.

Personally I was also in the process of applying for different jobs and with limited work experience I hoped this would be a way to learn new skills and develop existing skills. My first contact was with Graham Smith, the Volunteer Coordinator. Graham has been a tremendously welcoming and helpful person to be introduced to and work with.

Graham has allocated various tasks and activities for me. These have included working with the Campaigns and Public Affairs team. I have contributed to the creation and maintenance of two databases – one for local councillors and one for MPs. This activity gave me the opportunity to sharpen my I.T. skills and has introduced me to Debbie King (Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer) who has been very helpful and it has been a great learning experience to work with her.

Another enjoyable activity was attending fresher fayres at three of Aberdeen’s Further Education Campuses. This was great fun! Shelter Scotland had a stall among various others, ranging from Domino’s Pizza to the Army via the British Heart Foundation. This was a varied field competing for the attention of students wandering past. Many students were very keen to learn more about what Shelter Scotland does and what it can help them with – and in what ways they could help Shelter Scotland.

Volunteering with Shelter Scotland has been and is a great experience. Everyone I have encountered in the Aberdeen office and those I have communicated with who are based elsewhere have been very generous with their time and help.

I have recently started a new job with Aberdeen City Council in the housing department. Volunteering with Shelter Scotland has given me the work experience, confidence and skills that I feel helped in getting my new job. I hope to continue to volunteer for Shelter Scotland for a long time to come.

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