I have had a surprising amount of experience in waste and recycling during the past couple of years… I’ve worked on a project at my local council’s waste and recycling department, and at my current work experience at Brymor Contractors I am setting up an office recycling scheme, which is surprisingly easy. I’ve also created guidance notes on handling of construction wastes and I can tell you there’s definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to waste – and a massive industry in it too.
But why am I telling you all this? Because you will more than likely end up working in areas you’d never have thought of, like me at the moment. If I’d been more proactive I could have gained experience in more of those areas during my last 2 university years – a good place to do that for environmental related things is with the university Environment Team. They do a large variety of work trying to meet carbon emission reduction targets and increase sustainability around campus. The team also provide guidance on university recycling, and have good stations set up with bins to segregate recycling, which is what gave me the idea for the scheme I’m implementing on work experience.
So the point of this post is that giving up a little time volunteering for projects at university isn’t a load of rubbish, and it’s great for when you want to apply for jobs in the future because:
- Employers like to see volunteering on your CV, as it shows you are motivated and care about what you do
- It improves your organisational and communication skills (and all those other transferable skills those demanding employers love to see!)
- Small projects like setting up recycling schemes in the department are things you might actually be doing in a future job, so having experience gives you a head start over others.
This doesn’t just apply to environmental things either; there are a lot of volunteering opportunities and several large events that go on around university. For example, last year my house mate organised a ‘University of Leicester’s Got Talent’ event, and raised around £1,500 for charity from it – and that was a massive learning experience for him, but will make him stand out in the future.
So check out the societies at the Freshers Fair, and if stuff comes up, definitely get involved – it won’t take up much of your time, and it will be so useful in the future!