Sherry Shehata, National Volunteer Manager, hosted 4 young people during their internships at Caudwell Children based in Staffordshire, a charity that supports disabled children and their families across the UK.

We spoke to Sherry about the benefits of having interns in her team and why she can’t wait to host again next year.

Why I volunteer

Working with young people, and offering meaningful volunteering opportunities, is really important to me and the charity. Becoming a Career Ready volunteer gave me the opportunity to provide those meaningful opportunities to students and hopefully have a positive impact on the beginning of their professional journeys.

A lighter workload and a smile on my face

The internship went really well, all four students were hoping to explore a career within a clinical setting and were an absolute asset to the programme. We ensured students had an experience of all working parts of the charity, from understanding Income Generation and sending out event invites, to liaising with families about their applications to the charity. The students had the opportunity to observe certain aspects of the Autism Diagnosis Pathway as well as having the chance to discuss working in a clinical setting with members of our Multi-Disciplinary team. All of this was summarised in the end of Internship presentations which were definitely the highlight.

The experience was a huge benefit to me too, both personally and professionally. Not only did the students contribute to tasks that lightened my workload, but they also showcased to the whole organisation just how valuable work experience placements can be.

They took the time to share their perspective on volunteering and potential barriers to volunteering. Their insight will influence future volunteer recruitment and aid our objective of ensuring equality and diversity is at the forefront of our volunteer journey. It’s really beneficial for me to work with young people and to gain an insight into their perspectives.

On a personal level, the opportunity to work with four passionate and proactive students was great. They were all responsive, quick and hard-working and I left work with a smile on my face each day while working with them.

A valuable experience for us and them

This kind of experience is especially useful to young people and should be accessible to all throughout their education. At Caudwell Children, we recognise the importance of hosting placements for students at the beginning of their career or higher educational journey to ensure they have the best experiences to draw upon in later life. But we also recognise the value in having interns with us and these interns were no exception. In fact, they were amazing! They were hard working, thorough, efficient, compassionate, and helped across all areas of service delivery.

Hosting this internship has been a great experience for me – I cannot wait for next year already!

Thanks to funding from Standard Life Aberdeen we have been able to work with charities across the UK, like Caudwell Children, to offer the opportunity of a four week paid internship to students on the Career Ready programme.

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