I would really recommend taking volunteering opportunities while you're at uni

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Emily Bowes
Marketing Officer - Acis Group
BA History; MA Medieval History
Emily Bowes tells us about how her time volunteering whilst at university influenced her decision to work in the charity sector and make a positive difference to people's lives.

A transcript of the video:

Hi, my name is Emily and I'm the Marketing Officer at Acis group, which is a housing charity based in the Midlands, Lincolnshire, and South Yorkshire. I studied history at the University of Sheffield for my undergrad and then I stayed on to do a masters in mediaeval history. And I first came to the University of Sheffield because quite simply on the open day, I fell in love with the department and fell in love with the Uni and really really loved the city. I remember it being such a, kind of a welcoming day. And the Department really sold itself to me. It covered lots and lots of topics that I really, really enjoyed at the time. And and so I decided to come Sheffield. I then stayed on to do my masters simply because I just I love the city by that point. And I'm still here to this day. And it was just an, had an amazing undergraduate experience. And I wanted to keep that going and also made connections in the department. And I loved the mediaeval history syllabus and the course. So I stayed on to do my masters throughout my four years in Sheffield at the university. 

When you're studying you, you gain so many more skills than you think, and you're like I'm doing history. That is not possibly transferable to a marketing, job or law or, or any of the many careers you could go into. But it actually really is. So and I use all these analytical skills that you use when you are looking at primary sources and I use them to work out whether a blog post or social media posts are working or not working. And how I can make them better. I use those skills every single day that I gained through my degree. And I don't think I'd of gained them in any other degree in quite the same way, into quite the same breadth. And because everything you get you gain when you're doing your degree is transferable. 

And while I was at uni, as well as gaining all those wonderful skills, I did quite a lot of volunteering. I think that really helped me to kind of narrow down what I wanted to do. So in my second year I had what I call the second year panic of what am I gonna do when I leave uni I don't know what I'm gonna do. And I decided to start volunteering because that will help. And I volunteered for a really, really tiny international development charity that had two members of staff based in Rotherham I found them out through the volunteering office in the Students' Union and off I went and I started fundraising. I started marketing, and I loved it and I really, really loved it. I volunteered to them for a year. And it gave me a real passion for wanting to help people wanting to work in the charity sector. And that is why I worked for a homeless charity in my first job when I left uni. And that was a phenomenal experience, but that came from my volunteering at uni. And then it was that that led me in that direction. And I also did all the standards. I was on a committee and I was volunteering Officer for the History Society. And I make connections across the city with different organisations. I I did like volunteering in a school that helped me. know I did not want to be a teacher, but was really useful all the same. But it was those experiences that kind of formed how I wanted to grow and what I wanted to do when I left. Um, and I would really recommend taking those volunteering opportunities while you're at uni. They are just there are so many there that and there's such a breadth of things you can do and that it was just such a well Use a good use of your time and can really help later down the line. 

In my job. Now, I do many, many things. And marketing is very many things. And if you get bored easily, marketing is definitely one of those jobs for you where you will never be bored because there is always something else to do. So I look after our website, I look after our social media at Acis and we're a group. So we have other businesses within the group and I also help to market those. And there are very many different things. So while we're housing charity at Acis, we have a home's adaptations business and we have a training business, and we develop our own homes. So we have lots and lots of different things that we do at Acis And it's my responsibility to make sure that they are all a success and that I drive leads and to the, all the different sales teams that they can and make wonderful things happen for very many people. 

I enjoy helping people. That's my real driver. And I discovered that through my volunteering at uni, that that is what I wanted to do that I wanted to help people. And that is what I do on a daily basis in my job, even though I'm doing marketing, I'm helping people at the end of the day. It's a charity, it's a not-for-profit. We're about making people's lives better. I think that is the key thing I discovered when I was at uni, that is what I wanted to do and I got that from my experiences. 

So my big recommendation for you guys is just take every opportunity that comes your way because you'll never have an experience like it again. And don't panic because everything will work out. Because I panicked in my second year and it was fine. But just take those opportunities to explore and discover because you just, you won't get that in another in any other setting. Once you've left uni.

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