Volunteer of the Month

We are honoured to have hundreds of amazing volunteers who generously share their time, skills and experience to help and progress current students.

To better identify the impact our volunteers make, we have launched a Volunteer of the Month scheme to recognise those passionate individuals who go the extra mile.

August 2019 - Joe Comiskey

Aug-2019-VotMWhat is your current role?
Head of Digital and Media at Beiersdorf UK.

In what capacity have you volunteered for the University?
I supported the Future Leaders Certificate programme for students in the Business School working on the three NIVEA briefs. Over the course of two weeks, my team and I briefed, supported and gave feedback to six teams of awesome students on three real-life business challenges.

Why do you volunteer for the University? What do you enjoy most?
As an alumnus of Birmingham, it's great to be able to give something back. The students at the Business School are lovely to work with. It's a real pleasure to work with such enthusiastic and talented people. The lecture team are super-proactive and reached out to me early so I was able to plan this in well in advance. This allowed my team to create briefs for the FLC that help to solve real business issues. This made the project a win-win for us and the students. What I enjoyed most was seeing the amazing presentations back from the students. It was clear that a lot of thought and effort had gone into them, so it was a privilege to be involved.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Go for it. The University is very flexible so there is bound to be an opportunity to volunteer that works for both you and the uni. It's hugely rewarding to see the impact it has on the students.

July 2019 - Global Alumni Gathering volunteers

Earlier this year, alumni volunteers across the globe helped connect fellow alumni by arranging and hosting 33 events across 33 cities as part of the University's annual Global Alumni Gathering.

In total 600 alumni attended these events to network, socialise and celebrate the anniversary of the University receiving Royal Assent in 1900. This was the third Global Alumni Gathering and the biggest to date thanks to our dedicated volunteers who worked so hard to provide these event opportunities and help keep alumni connected.

Special thanks go to our Chinese alumni who managed to organise seven gatherings in seven cities, in which more than 360 people took part!

June 2019 - Dr Nicola Kavanagh

June-2019-VotMWhat is your current role?
I am a principle dentist working in general practice and a partner in three dental practices located in Barnt Green, Alvechurch and Halesowen. I also work as a clinical lecturer at the Birmingham Dental Hospital where I supervise Dental Students.

In what capacity have you volunteered for the University?
I volunteered on the University outreach programme where I shared my experiences of being both a dental student at Birmingham and my dental career so far. I talked to year 12 and year 10 students. The aim was to encourage students from all social backgrounds to consider Dentistry as a career.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
I feel it is important to give something back. I wanted to rave about the experiences I had at the University and also encourage young people to consider studying to be a dentist. I wanted to show them the opportunities that are available, which aren't just working in a dental practice.

What did you enjoy most?
I enjoyed sharing my experiences and the question and answer session at the end of my presentations. It was encouraging to see the pupils show a keen interest.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Every little helps. If you can help just one person, you have done a very good deed. It is very rewarding.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am very grateful that I have been chosen as volunteer of the month, and would like to thank the University staff for their enthusiasm and allowing me to come and help out! I am looking forward to the next time.

May 2019 - Nikema Taylor

May-2019-VotMWhat is your current job title?
I am currently a self-employed Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.

In what capacity have you volunteered for the University?
I have offered my knowledge regarding the pathways to becoming a CBT therapist to students who may not want to start their careers in teaching. I also spoke to a groups of students who were interested in alternative roles that may require you to teach others.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
I enjoy working with people and I am passionate about education and mental health so I understand how challenging it can be to not know where or what field you will be best suited in so I felt my experience may provide hope. I enjoy meeting the students and I like to got back to university campus.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
If you are someone who is passionate about giving your time to help others in education, then contact the university . I am humbled to have been selected for this scheme, I will look forward to volunteering in the future.

April 2019 - Pete Cripps

Apr-2019-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Blockchain Architect at IBM.

In what capacity have you volunteered for the University?
I’m the IBM relationship manager for the University and have now performed this role for more than ten years. This role is usually performed by alumni and involves supporting events that need some form of employer engagement as well as arranging (and delivering) guest lectures and helping with the development of teaching modules across the different University colleges and schools.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
As an alumnus of Birmingham (BSc Physics, 1979) I feel incredibly privileged to have benefited from a (‘free’) university education at a world class university, and felt I wanted to give something back to both the institution and the students that currently study there. I believe it’s really important that students have a good understanding of not just the modern world of work but also the current technology trends that they are likely to be encountering and even working in when they graduate. I’m lucky in working for a large, global company like IBM because it means I not only have an understanding of these upcoming technologies, but we are also encouraged to go out and talk to students about technology trends as well as what IBM does.

What do you enjoy most?
I really enjoy doing workshops with students that encourage some of the softer skills like creativity and collaboration and showing them how these are vital to businesses of all sizes and types.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Make as many contacts as you can, not only with staff members but students as well. Don’t constrain yourself to just your speciality or degree area. Employers today need a multi-discipline and diverse workforce to solve some of the world’s most pressing and ‘wicked’ problems. Showing students and universities how to bring different people together to work on such problems is a win-win for everyone. Just throw yourself into it, get out of your comfort zone and help out wherever you can.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I believe volunteering can not only benefit the University but also helps to develop you as a person in both your day job as well as personal life. You can volunteer at any time in your career and it’s definitely something everyone should try at some stage.

What’s your Twitter handle?
@pete_cripps

March 2019 - Dr Maria Velissariou

Mar-2019-VotMWhat is your current job title?
I am currently the Chief Science and Technology Officer at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), based in Chicago, USA.

In what capacity have you volunteered for the University?
I am one of the regional representatives of the University of Birmingham in the USA, covering Chicago. My role is to help promote the interests and visibility of the university, such as to help organise and host events in Chicago and the surrounding area. Recently I also had the privilege to speak at WISE regarding women in STEM for International Women’s Day.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the University?
It is very rewarding to give back to this incredible institution and interact with all the generations that have studied here, as well as those working toward their degrees. I enjoy the energy and ambition to evolve and grow with incredible research, teaching and student experience.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Just do it. Volunteering unleashes resources and creativity for the common good and causes we feel passionate about.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for the recognition, it is my honour!

February 2019 - Dr Antonio G. Farruggia-Bochnak

Feb-2019-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Founder and CEO of Walsall ACTION.

In what capacity have you volunteered for the University?
I volunteered at the day-long careers conference for CoSS PGR students called ‘Beyond the PhD: Getting the Job’ and gave a talk titled ‘Perseverance and Resilience in Business and Working for Yourself’.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
I volunteered because I have always felt a great sense of pride as an alumni of Birmingham. I am always happy to assist in any way that I can to support students with their learning and development.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
The thing I enjoyed the most, and will never forget, was looking out across the audience of PhD students and sensing just how much brainpower was gathered in one room – it was incredible!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Volunteering is good for the soul, so grab as much of it as you can.

What's your Twitter handle?
@WalsallAction

January 2019 - Jonathan Nason

Jan-2019-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Director at Quay Directions Limited.

How long have you volunteered with the University?
It’s now approaching eight years; in fact, since the Careers Network Mentoring programme was first launched. I can recall reading the invitation to participate; and, immediately investigating how I could contribute.

My first thought was "I really wished a similar programme had been in place in my Final Year". With so much going on, and increasing pressures in your Final year, it would have been great to have an independent person, who could be available to offer advice, act as a sounding board; or, just be around as and when you needed them. And, you know what, that inspired me.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
As a long-standing mentor on the Careers Network Mentoring programme.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
On leaving Birmingham and getting my first job in London, the gap between studying and full time work hit me like a pile-driver. And, that was even after vacation jobs on building sites and in a book warehouse. It was certainly a shock. I might have thought I was prepared; but, the transition could have been made smoother; and, with less fear of the unknown.

So, when the Mentoring Programme was launched, the opportunity for me to offer advice from my career provided a suitable solution to volunteering.

It has been particularly encouraging as the programme has evolved. There is now a larger cohort of mentees each year, extending beyond under to post-grads’ involvement, and an enhanced matching for mentees to mentors.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
It’s all about completing a virtuous circle that began way back in 1968, with my arrival at the University. A lot has happened in my career since those heady days of bell-bottomed trousers.

I have been fortunate in being able to grasp and make successes of important opportunities. They would not have been possible without my three years at uni. My eyes were opened to what could be achieved. My confidence enhanced to take on new challenges.

Having made that journey, and now with current grads about to take their first steps, it was a simple and logical step to find the best way to contribute. For me, the Careers Network Mentoring programme is the perfect match.

With my volunteering reaching its eighth year, it is really encouraging to look back on my mentees’ successes. I am delighted to have contributed in a very small way to their continuing achievements. We have stayed in touch, beyond the duration of the programme. We still share more as their careers’ progress. We laugh about what has worked out well; and, also, continuing learning from our experiences of working and about life in general.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Freely giving of your time and experience, of sharing life in all its different shades, and complexities, is most satisfying and invigorating. I know many mentees feel exactly the same way. Our meetings, and conversations, recharge our batteries, leading us to consider other avenues for study, research, and trying new opportunities that stimulate mind, body and soul.

What's your Twitter handle?
@quayprman

December 2018 - Dr Kate Fussell

A pioneering breast cancer researcher and reconstructive surgeon, Kate returned to campus in June 2018 as part of the ‘NHS at 70’ celebrations to volunteer to speak to staff and students.

Graduating from Birmingham more than 65 years ago, Dr Fussell reflected on her career in medicine, inspiring people across the college. She says: ‘Birmingham was a jolly good place to be a student and we had great fun.

'It was a bit hard being a women in surgery at the time as there were only six of us in the country – but I’m a very stubborn person! All sorts of things that we couldn’t treat at all are now both treatable and curable.’

See her full interview.

November 2018 - Keiko Suzuki

Nov-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Sales Support Assistant Manager at FIL Investments (Japan) Limited.

How long have you volunteered with the University?
I have volunteered as an MBA alumni for around four years.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
I have supported staff from the Business School at their MBA recruitment events in Tokyo, talking about my MBA experiences with study and life with MBA applicants. Some applicants debate whether or not to do an MBA. I also have provided consultation for their career and if it is necessary, I have introduced other alumni to applicants.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
I would like to be helpful to MBA applicants and people who are considering their career, because I was supported by many people when I pursed MBA. My MBA life was awesome, and I was blessed with my classmates, teachers and staff in Birmingham Business School. Thus, I want Birmingham Business School and UoB to develop further for the future.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
Meeting new people and talking about how my career related to MBA gives me new ideas, it is a very productive time. I really enjoy having those opportunities.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Sharing your experience with others can not only inspire you, but also will be meaningful.

October 2018 - Mark Hipwell

Oct-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
HS2 Curzon Street Station Interface Manager.

How long have you volunteered for the University?
Just under two years.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
As a graduate of the University, providing industrial experience from my work on major civil engineering projects, and promoting the EPS Awards.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
It’s incredibly important to give back to universities when you start into the world of work. I remember how useful and important it was having that connection to people who were in the industry. Being able to help gives me confidence in my own abilities and develops my communication skills. Plus Grace Surman, the Alumni Relations Manager for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, often provides cake and coffee…

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
I get a really adrenaline kick from engaging with young enthusiastic STEM-gineers. It’s tough at university for students; looking for jobs, social media bombarding them, constantly comparing themselves to each other, a tough job market! So being able to talk, engage and try and help (even if it now feels a long time ago) makes me feel like I’m doing something beyond my day job.

It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to come back to Birmingham and volunteer; you work for a long time and it’s so great to throw in fun, engaging volunteering days to get that warm fuzzy feeling.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
It’s so hard fitting volunteering into a day job, I totally get that. We’re all getting busier, but the best days I’ve had in the last one or two years have been working with the University. If you’re interested in signing up, bring a smile and your life experience and that’s all you need.

What's your Twitter handle?
@markhipwell1990

September 2018 - Gary Wroe

Sept-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Managing Director, Hockley Mint Ltd, and President of the British Allied Trade Federation.

How long have you volunteered for the University?
I have been back in touch with the University for the past 12 months.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
After initial contact from the Alumni I was asked to share my experience of studying at UoB. I spoke to approx. 30 cohorts who were studying for their full time MBA, many who were foreign students all in their final year. I also gave a talk at the open day for the new recruits on the MBA program speaking about Birmingham and the great city it is.  

Why do you volunteer for the University?
As you progress through life, reflecting on what you have done and achieved can be sometimes over looked. When I started my career I was given an opportunity to join the British Jewellers’ Association youth training scheme which set me on the journey through the world of jewellery. 28 years later I became chairman of that association as a way of saying thank you to the support and guidance it offered me. It is the same scenario with the UoB its about completing the circle – to give back what you have learnt and help others to achieve the potential they can.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
UoB is such a great place that has committed and dedicated staff that really want to make a difference to the students. Emma Coldicott contacted me about speaking and she really has driven the volunteering scheme. I enjoy talking to people and if I can give any advice as to studying now or in the future then I will. I enjoy giving back and staying connected to the University.  

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Give it a try – it is time but it is very, very rewarding. 

What's your Twitter handle? 
@Hockley_mint

August 2018 - Birmingham Alumni Network USA committee

The Birmingham Alumni Network USA organises events and activities in the US through a network of alumni volunteers. James Stamp is one of the members of the network committee.

Aug-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
President, Stamp Associates Viticulture, Inc.

How long have you volunteered for the University?
For approximately ten years.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
I have coordinated and hosted various events with a view to bringing together Birmingham alumni living in California and other US states. I served as treasurer of the US Alumni Society (now known as the Alumni Network). I arrange gatherings in northern California locations to introduce visiting UK Birmingham staff to the local alumni (including the Global Alumni Gathering pictured).

Why do you volunteer for the University?
I am very grateful for the education and qualifications I received at Birmingham. I would not have gained employment in the US without this education and specifically without my PhD in the field of plant biology. I want to bring alumni together because I am proud of my Birmingham experience and I enjoy meeting people with similar backgrounds. I also love to meet people from the UK. I also want to give back to Birmingham because it allowed me to become who I am today.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
Meeting with people from Birmingham who frequently tend to be from the UK.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Do it! Contact someone from the University or a local/regional Birmingham volunteer to find out how fun and how rewarding volunteering can be.

July 2018 - Seyi Adisa

July-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
I am a Partner at the law firm Tunde & Adisa Legal Practitioners (T & A Legal) and currently also the Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Oyo State in Nigeria.

How long have you volunteered for the University?
Since my second year of study (2004).

In what capacity have you volunteered?
Well, as an avid football fan, I volunteered in my second year for Local Leagues, which was volunteering to teach children football, and attained the Millennium Volunteers Award for contributing more than 100 hours into volunteering in an academic year. However, now that I live in Nigeria, I have opted to volunteer online and have put myself up to mentor law students at Birmingham. I have recently offered three students international law internships with mentoring in Nigeria this summer. I am also scheduled to speak about my expertise to the Law School via Skype in October.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
I believe in giving back, particularly because I benefited from others who gave back while I was at UoB. There are so many opportunities and lessons that mentors can share with mentees and I want Birmingham to continue to produce the best students in the UK and globally.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
You will be amazed how much you will learn from your interactions with your mentees. Decide to mentor someone especially in an area you are passionate about or have expertise in. It is a win-win scenario.

What's your Twitter handle?
@sjadisa

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Giving is the best part of living!

June 2018 - Fatemeh Faroughi

June-VotMWhat is your current job title?
I am currently working as a Supervisor/Coordinator at Towheed International School, Dubai.

How long have you volunteered for the University?
I have been in contact with the University since the launch of the campus in Dubai Academic City.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
I have tried to attend all of the open days, events and workshops, talking to new students, UoB staff and lecturers and informing them about the unique and diverse culture of the UAE, how to attract new students and greet newcomers.

Why do you volunteer for the University?
As a novelist with five published books, meeting new people from different walks of life is a reward that is not easily achieved. On the other hand, volunteering at the University keeps me in touch with the academic world, creating new opportunities for the future.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
Volunteering gave me the opportunity to meet successful professionals who know what it takes to work hard and achieve dreams. I was able to make friends with some lovely people and also help young people to choose the right path by setting a good example.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
I would say go for it. The experience is really rewarding and at the end of each volunteering session, I realise that I have gained something new, useful and valuable.

https://twitter.com/FaroughiFatemeh

May 2018 - #TeamUoB

Team-UoBFor May we have chosen to celebrate the brilliant work of the 400 runners who took part in the 2018 Simply Health Great Birmingham 10K. Congratulations all!

Why did you volunteer?
To help share the message of the 10,000 Lives appeal with the city of Birmingham, and our local community. Thank you to everyone who ran, jogged, walked or cheered. Together you had a huge impact and will help change the lives of so many young people from across the city and region.

What is the best about volunteering?
The range of people you get to meet. For the 10K, we had students, staff, people who live near to campus and alumni all the way back to the 1970s. You never know who you will meet.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Do it! It's so rewarding, you meet some great people and get to play a part in changing lives, which is like nothing else you'll ever do.

Find out more about our team by following #TeamUoB.

April 2018 - Charlotte Bullock

Apr-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
I’m a Speciality Registrar in Anaesthetics at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

How long have you volunteered for the University?
I've volunteered as a Personal Mentor for UoB Medical School for the past four years.

Why do you volunteer?
I started volunteering because I benefitted from the mentoring system when I was a Medical Student. I also thought it would help develop my mentorship skills, which in Medicine is something that is expected but not really taught.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
The best part is seeing the progress of the students, and finding out about their experiences when supervising their medical electives abroad. It doesn’t take up much of my time and is as rewarding for me as I hope it is for them.

March 2018 - David Phillips

Mar-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Investigator, Imperial College London.

How long have you volunteered for?
Since 1969! I first started to give demonstration lectures in schools at that time, and am still doing it.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
As a demonstration lecturer. Over my lifetime I have reached live audiences totalling more than 250,000 school students and lay public.

Why do you volunteer?
I want others to share my own enthusiasm for science and what it can do.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
Interaction with audiences, the feeling of having done something worthwhile.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
You will gain from it as much as the people you engage with; you will be a more rounded person. Whatever form of volunteering you do, you will enjoy it and gain from it.

February 2018 - Charlie Oubridge

Feb-2018-VotMWhat is your course title?
I'm studying a BA in Ancient History.

For how long have you volunteered, and in what capacity?
I've been volunteering for maybe eight years; I've done acting at an arts centre and taken part in regular Christmas events with them and I've also been a museum gallery assistant. Last year I spent a year as an English teacher in a small town in Thailand with a charity called Project Trust.

Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer because I like to be busy and the volunteering roles available to me are much more challenging and fun than most jobs for young people. I also like being able to feel like I have achieved something by helping someone or enabling them to enjoy themselves. Whilst volunteering I have learned a lot I wouldn't have otherwise; it's developed my confidence and I get to meet lots of lovely people. It is definitely beneficial for volunteers as well!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
When volunteering I think it's important to find something that uses your unique skills - I joined the tuition scheme because of my experience in education - as this helps you have the biggest impact you can.

January 2018 - Jonathan Wong

Jan-2018-VotMWhat is your current job title?
Project Director at the Center for Entrepreneurship at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

For how long have you volunteered?
I have volunteered for the University since 2014, but have volunteered for different programmes and organisations related to young people outside Birmingham since 2010.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
I volunteered to kick-start the University's mentoring programme in Hong Kong. Away from Birmingham, I have been helping various NGO and charity organisations on different programmes, like training young people at Roads (https://www.facebook.com/roadshkYBTMAL/); acting as a mentor and Programme Director for Google Empowering Young Entrepreneur Programme (http://www.eyeprogram.org/), advising V54 (https://www.facebook.com/V54.HK/) a media and art hub for young people; acting as advisor for Young Entrepreneurship Foundation, (https://www.facebook.com/YEFHK/), an incubation programme for young entrepreneurs; and mentoring for Eureka Nova, an incubation programme for start-ups.

Why do you volunteer?
Volunteering is a very rewarding experience. Not only I can fully utilise my knowledge and business experience and network to help young people, it also helps me to know more about the startup scene and their business and expand my horizons.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
Meeting more exciting and interesting people from all walks of life, which in turn makes my life more interesting, fulfilling and meaningful.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
I would advise anyone who is thinking about volunteering to ask himself/herself what they would like to achieve from it. Without thinking clearly about the objectives and preparing yourself in advance, you may be wondering why do it, what you can contribute, how much time you are prepared to invest, etc along the way, especially if it does not turn out as good as you expected, or you have some problems during volunteering.

What's your Twitter handle?
@hero_8800

December 2017 - Joe Comiskey

Dec-2017-VotM-1What is your current job title?
Head of Digital for Northern Europe at Beiersdorf.

For how long have you volunteered?
The last six years.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
I supported at the Mock Assessment Centres and as a guest lecturer during my time at Unilever and now at Beiersdorf.

Why do you volunteer?
As an alumnus of the University, I have always felt a lot of gratitude for the opportunities studying there unlocked for me. This is my way of giving back to the university. I love taking part in the events as the students are so enthusiastic and the business school so welcoming.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
Feeling like I’ve made a difference, especially when I get positive feedback from the students.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Do it. The commitment required is actually pretty minimal yet hugely rewarding. I always come away from the mock assessment centres feeling like I have learnt something new too and from a commercial perspective, it gives a head start on finding talented students who could apply to Beiersdorf.

What's your Twitter handle?
@joe_brum

November 2017 - Chris Meah

Nov-2017-VotMWhat is your current job?
I am CEO at the School of Code.

How long have you volunteered for?
I've volunteered for the University since 2013, starting with helping at Birmingham's ThinkTank museum, offering science outreach sessions for children.

In what capacity have you volunteered?
While I was studying I helped start the PhD Careers Day, which linked companies to PhD students in an attempt to help people who were worried about life outside of academia. We had more than 800 attendees at the two events we ran, and it was great to see so many students get jobs and opportunities through it. Since then, I've been involved in lots of different activities, and after finishing my PhD I've been happy to come in and give a talk, run workshops, and help students gain industry relevant skills that will help them in their career. 

Why do you volunteer?
I enjoy helping people, and I enjoy supporting people trying to improve themselves or their skills. Since my background is Computer Science, I concentrate my efforts there mostly. There is also a huge amount of money, jobs, and opportunity in technology but that isn't reaching everyone. The reason for programmes like our Homeless Coding Class and the School of Code Bootcamp is to try and help more and different types of people benefit from technology.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
Everybody has had help to get where they are at some point, so it's nice to feel like you can do that for someone else too.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Start small, try lots of different activities and you'll find what you are good at and enjoy.

Do you have a Twitter account?
@theSchoolofCode and @theMeahCat

October 2017 - EPS Class Ambassadors

Oct-2017-VotMThese 17 wonderful young alumni all volunteered for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Open Day on Saturday 14 October. All graduated within the last two years and are Class Ambassadors for the EPS Community.

They are wonderful advocates for the University and remain incredibly enthusiastic about their time at Birmingham. Amongst them they did some incredible things as students and have gone on to exciting new jobs.

They spent the day sharing stories and advice to prospective students to the University and inspiring our visitors to follow in their footsteps.

Many thanks to: Grace Hayward, Max Cameron-Jones, Will Davies, Alex Rees, Chloe Connolly, Carly Thomas, Becky Drew, Sarah Jones, Tsani Sakutov, Ahmad Khattab, Saskia Binks, Daisy Partlow, Nathanial Hutchinson, Joseph Carter, Hazel Cox, Tom Loveland, and Philippa Jefferies. Some of the group are pictured above at the Open Day.

September 2017 - Will Hazelton

Sept 2017 VotMWhat is your current job?
I am Account Manager at Spark44 BHX.

Why do you volunteer?
I didn’t consciously realise I was volunteering. All I knew was that it is vital to give opportunities to students, as they’re brimming with fresh thinking and new ideas. This is critical, not just for the creative industry, but businesses all over the world.

In what capacity do you volunteer?
I lead a team who developed a robust internship programme, partnered with two key universities and recruited six fantastic students for two weeks. I then coached and mentored them throughout their placement with us here at Spark44. Although I didn’t realise I was consciously doing so, the time I volunteered was incredibly stimulating and hugely rewarding to me and the students involved in the programme.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
Developing relationships and watching people benefit from your experience. It’s hugely rewarding to impart your knowledge and see other people breathe and interpret it to benefit them in their own way.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Don't think about it as a timescale, i.e. I need to donate x hours per week. Think about it as a project - what do you want to achieve? What do you want to learn? This way it becomes an experience, not a chore.

August 2017 - Keith Harding

Aug 2017 VotMWhat is your current job?
I am retired.

How long have you volunteered for the University, and in what capacity?
I have served as editor of Aesculapius, the Medical and Dental Graduates’ publication, for seven years. I volunteered as a member of the editorial board and of the Sands Cox charity Exec committee.

Why do you volunteer?
I volunteered because no-one else did (!) but I enjoy it very much. It keeps my retired brain active and is a contribution to the Medical School.

What is the best thing about volunteering?
Aesculapius provides a forum for Medical and Dental graduates to tell others about their interests and allows student holders of Sands Cox bursaries to publish their elective, to present it and be questioned by a multi-disciplinary audience, which I think is wonderful experience for them. I might add that the standard is very high.