Did you know that volunteering is a great way to support your career development while helping fulfil the mission of a community organization? Evidence shows that meaningful volunteering provides students with valuable work experience and transferable skills, and allows you to explore new work environments.
The University of Ottawa has a long history of commitment to the community through providing volunteer experiences for students on and off campus.
Acquire transferable skills
The uOttawa community engagement team aims to offer a wide variety of relevant volunteer opportunities in health care, the environment, social inclusion, communications, education, translation, research and more. These experiences let you acquire important, transferable life skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, civic engagement or digital capabilities. We call them uOcompetencies.
Career development also means finding your own path. This is a gradual personal journey. How can we be sure of what we want to do later? How do we know what our career interests are?
Volunteering is one way to find out. This has been the case for Jessica Rockel, a history student, who is doing a placement with Canadian Parents for French. “My placement is going great,” she says. “I’m really enjoying the experience I’m getting with working with children, and what it feels like to teach them. This has really cemented my feelings that I want to be a teacher when I graduate. So thank you for the opportunity.”
Expanding your network through civic engagement
By getting involved with community partners, you’re making yourself known and demonstrating your civic engagement. While the primary purpose of volunteering is not personal gain, volunteering has many benefits, including networking.
When you’re there for others, you develop yourself as a person, both personally and professionally. Volunteering pushes you to make connections and maintain social relationships. Others come from different backgrounds and can support you in your job search or in other career plans.
Rougui Bah, a graduate student in sociology and volunteer, says, “I learned about the importance of networking and the experience of organizations already established in the community. This is very beneficial once you finish your studies and it’s time to tackle the job market.”
Becoming a leader for today and tomorrow
Being a volunteer means participating in the world of today and tomorrow. You develop interpersonal skills working with people from different backgrounds, in different situations. You gain self-confidence taking on new challenges that contribute to positive change in our community. You develop skills — in organizing, teamwork, communication, time management and more — that characterize a leader.