July 17, 2015, by Mary Strickson

Youth programmes: an invaluable experience

By Mary Strickson, student blogger

I’ve been involved with various youth programmes and projects over the last year. The reason I started looking for voluntary roles was because I wanted to do something constructive with my spare time. Little did I know that these experiences would provide me with so much more than just something to put on my CV; they have allowed me to develop a wide range of skills, meet new people and most importantly have fun.  

Who do I volunteer with?

The youth programmes I am involved in are for 15 to 25-year olds and are run by museums and galleries who want to get young people connected and participating within the arts. Similar schemes run across the country and they are free to join; some will even reimburse travel expenses so that all you are giving is your time.

How can you get involved?

I started my search by emailing the people who ran each of the youth programmes to ask how I could get involved. Some told me that I needed to submit an application form, but for others, it was simply a case of turning up. I found that being forward in what I wanted to do and contacting the museums and galleries to be a good way of finding out what was available to me. My advice if you wanted to get involved in volunteering would be to email companies and organisations to see if they run any sort of volunteering schemes; don’t just wait for it to land in your lap!

Experiences of a lifetime

Taking part in youth programmes has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions and given me the chance to develop many key skills I would never have been exposed to otherwise. Some of tasks I took part in include:

  • working with artists and under their guidance producing my own artwork for exhibitions.
  • working with a graphic designer to produce flyers and business cards.
  • helping create marketing campaigns.
  • helping run events for the general public and taking part in the planning of a young people’s festival.
  • judging various art competitions.
  • visiting artist’s studio and various museums and galleries throughout the country.

The only thing I wish is that I had realised that all of these opportunities were out there when I was younger. At the upper end of the age range, I realise that I won’t have access to these groups forever, but I am so glad that I have been able to get involved. It’s given me invaluable skills and experiences which will help me when I start applying for jobs.

I have written this blog so that more people will be aware of what opportunities are out there. My parting advice would be go and contact your local museum or gallery, get involved with your local youth programmes and make the most of what is out there!

If you have been inspired and are interested in getting involved with volunteering, make sure you have a look at the advice available on our website

Posted in Careers AdviceVolunteering