Several of last year's Warwick Advantage Award winners were students who have been involved in volunteering through Warwick Volunteers.
Whilst sometimes a student has been a Project Leader and can demonstrate all of the requisite experiences and skills for the Warwick Advantage award through this, other students have included their participation in certain volunteering opportunities as part of their overall application.
Below, you can see extracts from the awards application of some of these volunteers:
ANJANI AMLANI- Project Leader of Mentoring scheme
LAUREN RENSHAW- Right to Read volunteer
ALICE HARVEY- Project Leader for Language Tutors, Italian Language Tutor volunteer and Language Register volunteer
CHARLES OBEN- Language Tutor volunteer
SONALI SAMANI- Project Leader of Mentoring scheme
"This year as Project Leader, mentoring has taken my team work skills to new levels"
"In my capacity as a Project Leader my communication skills have been impacted the most. Working with the Mentor teams regularly, I can better communicate when talking to large groups of people. Recruitment has enabled me to identify and communicate with a target audience, through marketing and publicity. Overall, the skills I have gained from these experiences at Warwick have given me individuality and unique selling points to help me to succeed in the future"
"How to be a real team member, bringing my individual strengths to the table to strive for a common goal is in itself what I have learnt from mentoring. I am better able to cooperate and contribute within a team of people I have never met before. I will apply this when I face similar situations in my future career. Learning to be a leader as well as a team member has been an interesting experience. I feel I am an effective leader; I have learnt to manage a team of individuals with different strengths and personalities, ensuring they are undertaking fitting tasks and motivated"
"Organisation has been crucial to my role. I now use my time better and plan ahead more. As a result of being responsible for a group of volunteers, my motivational skills have been enhanced. I try to be available for my volunteers on a one to one basis, keep their activities fun and interesting by organising team building exercises and social events, delegate tasks and responsibilities and organise rewards such as recognition for their time volunteering. I can already see a positive impact; my recent team work has been efficient and we have achieved good results. I plan on leading bigger things and apply my new found skills when I am a team member. Being more proactive and organised wouldn’t be harmful either"
"Working as a Right to Read Volunteer has been one of the most important ways in which I have become involved with and contributed to the local community. I worked as a Right to Read mentor in Term 2 of my second year, attending training and child protection sessions before beginning my job. I then taught young children to read every Thursday morning, getting to know the pupils I was working with and the staff at Lillington Primary School as I visited each week. This scheme was also in accordance with the AimHigher project, inspiring young people to consider higher education"
"Working as a Right to Read mentor reminded me of the importance of getting involved with the local community, and of the impact students can have. I have learned the value of being reliable and responsible, so that the children I was teaching had confidence in me. This experience inspired me to run for election as Vice President of Warwick Volunteers, which I was appointed and will start working as in the near future. The experience of volunteering overall was very rewarding and productive, and I feel that I did make a difference. I hope to continue to remain involved with volunteering in the future"
"My leadership skills have grown immensely as has my ability to communicate constructively to individuals and large groups of people alike. I have learnt that I work equally well independently, in a pair or as part of a group and I have found a passion for promoting language learning not just at secondary school level but within all educational settings. This experience and the drive I have discovered for encouraging pupils to study languages is something that will continue as I endeavour to follow a career in teaching"
"Through gaining leadership skills I have learnt how effectively I can communicate with people and encourage a positive working atmosphere. I have learnt how to alter the tone of my voice and language to effectively lead a meeting or training session. This has enabled me to think about possibilities in working within leadership after university. But it will also be useful now as I can use these skills when working in group projects within my university course and during my part-time work"
"My leadership capabilities improved greatly as a result of this role. Taking the reception class really improved this aspect as my responsibilities forced me to do so. Reception class is disruptive by nature as they find it very hard to concentrate or to focus on any one thing for long periods of time. So initially, I found it very difficult to construct any efficient classes or teaching of any sort. Gradually this changed, as I became more assertive and more confident in my role and my skills to lead the class improved as a necessity"
"I also feel that my organisation and planning skills benefited greatly from this, something that I perhaps was not expecting. However, the difficulty of taking the class surprised me and so I had to adapt accordingly, often coming to class with several techniques and ideas for teaching the same thing, or reaching the same goal. Similarly, I gained lots of insight on creative ways of tackling the same thing in different manners and was able to incorporate this into my classes, leading them to be less rigid, more entertaining and more successful in general"
"I have also improved my managerial skills as I have learned a great deal from observing and taking part in classes. Examples include a greater understanding and appreciation of behavioural management, or the importance of questioning in an instructive position. This goes in conjunction with my communication skills that also improved as a result of constant communication with the children"
"I believe that my participation in the mentoring programme taught me a great deal about the importance of self confidence, as by projecting an image of confidence, it inspires trust from the mentees. Without this trust, it is unlikely I would have been able to have such a big effect on the students, as they would not have seen me as a positive role model to the same extent. As a project leader I have also had to work on organisation and planning skills, as I was required to ensure the smooth running of three school projects, and therefore I learnt to improve my communication and efficiency to ensure that everything went to plan"
"I also feel I learnt that I have a hidden strength, I did not realise which is a creative streak I was unaware off, as I found myself very capable of finding unique methods of teaching the pupils, so as to inspire interest in them, for example making up games or using other societies at Warwick University, such as Dodgeball, Latin and Ballroom or Radio to create exciting classes for the mentees. This is something I believe will be useful to me in future, as something I can harness and apply particularly in terms of looking for solutions that are outside the box, in presentations and in teaching scenarios"
"Working with the community in this way has been a brilliant experience for me, not solely because of the satisfaction I have gained in knowing I have helped someone within the community. It has opened my eyes, to people who are disadvantaged in the community, and helps to keep my grounded and aware of how lucky I have been. I believe this knowledge is crucial to my future life, as it helps to give me a sense of perspective and gratitude. Further, I hope that in having this awareness it will improve my ability to relate to people from all walks of life, and enhance my ability to relate and communicate with different people"