Hi, I’m Alex and I work at Connect Dacorum. 

It was whilst I was researching Community Action Dacorum prior to getting a job offer that made me really want to join this sector. Their commitment to working with small business and charities is incredible, and particularly through this past year the importance of making sure they survive and thrive has never been clearer.

Having the opportunity to work with a charity that helps to promote this is amazing. Also, the ways in which they help to create and foster a real sense of community and connect likeminded people together was something that I wasn’t previously aware of nor was it something that I had previously been immersed in. So, having the opportunity to see the vital work that they do as well as introducing myself to the Dacorum community was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss!

My Experience

Four months into my role and I believe I am really solidifying and cultivating new skills every day. Whilst July has been a comparatively quiet month in comparison to others, it by no means that I have not learnt or taken anything away from the month. Part of Connect Dacorum’s aim has meant that there is always a new event or project in the pipeline. So, whilst last month saw us focus on National Volunteering week, our first face-to-face networking event since the pandemic began, and Employability Days in schools, July has seen the foundations being built for events in August.

Roughly once a week my manager and I have had catchups to discuss the work she has set me, how I’m getting on etc. I spend most of my days in meetings and getting on with my work. Whilst it might not sound particularly glamourous, a wonderful thing about this placement and what my manager has done is to make sure the tasks and events that occur are completely different. Whilst the core ideas of Connect Dacorum are present in everything that we do, CSR presents itself in a variety of different ways, and my manager has made sure that I have been able to cover and learn about as many different ones as possible.

A rather unique aspect to my role has seen that I work for two different departments. I work at the Volunteer Centre one day a week and despite not being a full-time member I full feel like a part of the team. This is all credit to the kind, lovely and welcoming people that work at CAD. At the Volunteer Centre I’ve had more hands-on experience with the community, whereas at Connect Dacorum there has been a focus on the business. As a result, my tasks in the Volunteer Centre have been hugely different to those in Connect Dacorum and have mean that I’ve have the opportunity to hone and develop different skills. Like a Connect Dacorum, the volunteer centre has really pushed me in the variety of roles on offer and have stretched my skills in ways I would not have deemed possible.

At the Volunteer Centre, my communication skills have come on leaps and bounds with regard to customer and member support. One of my task at the beginning of my placement here was to phone all of our members and discus with them how they have managed the past year of lockdown, and how they were preparing for re-entry.

Being able to work with our members in a helpful and sensitive manner is a skill. And I am now confident that I can constructively interact with them and manage their needs.

Working from home has also provided its own unique challenges. Particularly at the beginning of my placement, meeting new people in other departments and fully understanding the variety of roles that the charity did was new to me. With the help of my Buddy, I have come to have a greater appreciation and understanding of all the different departments, the things they do and how they all fit together under the banner of Community Action Dacorum.

As this was my first office/proper job my expectations of the role and what a job would be like were very much dictated by what I saw on TV and in film, and so to start with no real life experience was daunting. However, the people at work have truly been very welcoming. Indeed, the photocopier is in our office as so just getting the chance to chat as people come to pick up their printing and see a smiling, friendly face has made the prospect about going back into the office more enjoyable. The nature of being in an office means that you develop your communication skills, and ways of communicating differently to different people, so I’m sure that there are numerous skills that I have subconsciously developed and will stand me in good stead for the future.

I have very much felt that working for a charity has strongly focused on what I can get out of them, rather what they can get out of me. My workplan is designed for me as a young person to learn new skills and get experience. My role is new, specifically tailored for me, as thus I feel like Community Action Dacorum have made the effort to ensure that I cover as many different skills in different ways as possible.

In short, it is a fulfilling role and a welcome introduction into the world of work.

Connect Dacorum

We are a partnership between the business, public and voluntary sectors that actively participates in creating a better quality of life for all in Dacorum and the surrounding area.

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