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Volunteering might be an option when you are looking to gain skills that are outside what you have now.

I can’t count the number of volunteer organisations that are looking to bring new people onboard. Volunteering is a way of giving back to the community, but it is also an opportunity to learn something new.

Say you are looking at a career change and you have decided that getting a job that sees you outside, for example on a boat, is what you want to do. Seek out a volunteer organisation where you can gain skills in boating.

Need to add organisational or administrative skills to your portfolio? Team work, problem solving and task management are also among the skills you can gain by volunteering.

There is an old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. Volunteering can put you in touch with a whole new network of people who just might know someone, who knows someone else who is looking for a person like you.

A few things to consider before marching down to your local volunteer organisation:

  • Have a clear idea of what you want to do
  • Be certain about why you are volunteering – it might be to try something new, see a different way of life and new places
  • Learn a bit about the organisation online – look at their website or social media
  • How much time are you willing to commit

When narrowing down which organisation or organisations you think will suit, remember to ask questions, this will give you an understanding of what is expected of you and any training involved. Don’t over commit yourself – leave some flexibility around the amount of time you volunteer in case something comes up. Give yourself a chance to get settled into the organisation before deciding whether to continue. You can always try something new if the experience wasn’t what you were hoping for.

There are lots of statistics about how volunteering our time makes us happy, so there is another good reason to give it a go.

Finding volunteer opportunities near you is just an online search away. Both you and the organisation benefit. You bring skills and life experience that you have and you get the opportunity to learn something new.