Did anyone do volunteering as a SAHM with a view of it helping with employment later?

(38 Posts)
sebsmummy1 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:17:02

It's all in the title really grin

I've been driving myself mad trying to think of employment options as a SAHM and thought today that maybe I could do some volunteering with a view to either turning into employment down the line or at least making me more employable in the future.

Has anyone done this and could give me any pointers? I suppose I'm less interested in dog walking or sitting in a charity shop and more interested in something that could have prospects. Do such things exist?

Shamoy Thu 06-Feb-14 18:22:30

Well I'm just about to do the same thing. I'm interested in working with children though so am volunteering in a children's centre and applying to become a scout leader... Am hoping these will give me good experience for later on :-)

ouryve Thu 06-Feb-14 18:23:10

Many charities have advice lines, so if you have a relevant perspective, there's sometimes options to train for those. If an opportunity comes up, you could volunteer in school or even become a school governor. The NIHR have regional groups for PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) in health and social care research, if that sort of thing piques your interest. If being outdoors is your thing, councils and charities often organise clear up or restoration work on woodlands, hedgerows, beaches etc.

teamnomistake Thu 06-Feb-14 18:26:33

Yes. I work in Mental Health. A few years ago, when the dc were pre school age, I was in a situation where it totally wasn't worth getting a paid job as it would have cost more in childcare. I did voluntary work in the evening on a crisis phone line in nights when DH could commit to being at home with the dc. I loved it, it taught me new skills about dealing with all kinds of call/situation and the other volunteers all knew me as teamnomistake, not as the dc's mum, at a time when I felt a bit adrift in the SAHM. I felt I got to cling on to a bit of professional identity. And it totally helped at interviews later on, showing that I'd kept my hand in.

sebsmummy1 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:51:06

Ooh love it guys, that is totally the kind if thing I was thinking about. I guess my background is more creative than social work as I have qualifications in graphic design and then later more practical creative skills.

I shall have a google and see what pops up locally.

BellaI Sat 08-Feb-14 22:22:42

I've been volunteering with NCT for 4 years. Have done various roles and been Branch chair for past 2 years. Have recently had 2 interviews after beefing up the volunteer roles on my Cv. Fingers crossed get something soon. In both cases got from 100 to 7 or 8.

PigeonPie Sat 08-Feb-14 22:27:13

Yes! I helped at Playgroup as Secretary for four years while both DSs were there and also did other bits and pieces.

Through my connections there I have got three part time Parish Clerk jobs which I love. It keeps my connection with the village that the DSs were at Playgroup with and I have two other rural villages too.

The work is flexible and means I can be around for the school run and during the holidays, but I can still get 'stuff' done.

JanePurdy Sat 08-Feb-14 22:30:43

Yes, I volunteered as an assistant researcher for a charity & actually got my name on the published report as an author which looks good on my cv. If you look there are bound to be opportunities in areas that use your skills or enhance your CV.

lougle Sat 08-Feb-14 22:33:45

I do quite a lot of voluntary stuff. no idea if it will help late, but it's very fulfilling now, which is good enough in itself.

EBearhug Sat 08-Feb-14 22:51:16

My mother did loads over the years, including (not all at once):
* Secretary for the local WEA (got very busy before the start of the academic year, organising lecturers and classrooms and getting the course leaflets printed up and distributed, and the applications coming in.)
* Secretary for the local gardening club.
* Delivering meals on wheels for the WRVS
* Delivering books on wheels, initially through the WRVS, and later directly with the library. (We used to have to go with her in the school holidays, and her old ladies would give my sister and me a toffee or 50p or something, and ask about how we were doing at school. They seemed positively ancient when I was about 8, but I don't know if they all were. My first jobs were in libraries partly because of this.)
* Teas for prison visiting times for the WRVS
* Manned a polling station on voting days.
* Taught swimming for the local swimming club.

Apart from the book ladies and the gardening club, she gave most of it up when she went back to full-time work when we were both at secondary school. I work full-time, so I don't have time for much at all, but I do do a bit for StemNet, which is related to my area of work - promoting tech careers (particularly to girls) is something I feel strongly about, and I think it will help my CV a bit, too.

There are loads of voluntary opportunities about if you look about. Find something that's meaningful to you - both in terms of what the organisation does, and what your role within it will be.

HoneyDragon Sat 08-Feb-14 22:58:56

I'm currently being trailed to sign on as banking staff at a local preschool. I'm not ankle to go back to work, so hopefully this will be ideal as I can have dome control over my hours.

HoneyDragon Sat 08-Feb-14 22:59:35

(And it gives me childcare when I work)

I've just applied and received an interview for adult nursing at uni, my tutors said my voluntary work experience as a sahm has really helped as it show willingness to work and learn without monetary reward. I have volunteered in girl guiding, on my local preschool committee and as bank staff for the preschool,as well as being a governor of the school my dd's attend.

A lot of small organisations could do with website help - that might fit well with your cv?

dashoflime Sat 08-Feb-14 23:08:41

Yes,
I volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau (not as a stay at home mum) and now I am a (paid) specialist benefits advisor

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 08-Feb-14 23:11:27

I'm a parent helper at school. Apparently that's how most of the staff started. grin

Nevercan Sun 09-Feb-14 13:39:50

I volunteers for the Nct so I could put on my vc I was a branch secretary or social media coordinator etc.

verdiletta Sun 09-Feb-14 13:43:57

I volunteered as an adult literacy tutor - got lots of free and really interesting training, and it helped me land a paid tutor job now the kids are at school.

I did, in fact I still do some,but I don't think it helped much.
School governor at secondary and parent helper at primary.
Volunteer at library .
Education appeals panel.

The thing about being a parent helper is that by the time your children are older and you want to work, you may no longer enjoy the company of small children like you used to, I certainly don't grin.

Trizelda Sun 09-Feb-14 13:53:01

I volunteered for a charity called 'Volunteer Reading Help' now called 'Beanstalk' I think. You need to do 3 hours a week in a school helping 3 children with their reading/confidence issues. Definitely helped me when applying for teaching assistant jobs.

Not a mum but can someone suggest some volunteering options around Enfield or nearby. I am visually impaired, no degree but have lived in Vietnam for 7 years and speak 7 languages. I have worked with people with disabilities and am trying to enroll on an RNIB course to get a qualification for working with people with VI.
t
I have a bit of vision but not sure what to do.

lilyaldrin Sun 09-Feb-14 14:10:22

This site might be useful www.do-it.org.uk/

You can search for volunteering roles either by your interests or what activities you want to carry out - eg. you want to get some PR experience in Oxford, this comes up

BranchingOut Fri 14-Feb-14 08:38:22

I was only a SAHM for a year after my maternity leave, but I trained and volunteered as a bf peer supporter.

I don't think that any of this will get you a job, but it will certainly help with a reference and open up new contacts.

Helpyourself Fri 14-Feb-14 08:48:32

Yes! I trained for and took calls on a helpline, trained as a bf peer support worker, trained and worked as a literacy tutor and then did admin support of face to face work with clients for a charity.
I really beefed up the voluntary work and used it to evidence the fact that I had updated my skills, liaised with professionals from the relevant sector, undertaken supervision and gained experience in 1:1 work and office admin which was vital as I was previously a teacher and wanted to move into an advice/ support rôle.
If you're doing voluntary work with a view to changing industry, be analytical: work out what skills you need, get them and learn the lingo so you can prove it!
Good luck!

supadupapupascupa Fri 14-Feb-14 08:53:56

yes.

I'm Treasurer for a building used by scouting groups
I'm Treasurer for a Parent's Forum at the Children's Centre
I've spoken to the local school about becoming a Governor

Not much but it's good to keep up your skills, confidence and do something for yourself. And it benefits others enormously

fortyplus Fri 14-Feb-14 08:56:49

Set up local residents' association
Ran mother & toddler group
Helped in school
Became parent governor
Joined committee of local Scout group
Ran school uniform shop

Breezed into part time job with local council after 12 years as sahm - now work full time smile

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Fri 14-Feb-14 08:58:48

Another ex CAB volunteer here. Am now on a f/t degree course (creative subject). CAB was good in terms of getting professional referees, and also helped with confidence, but I had no interest in pursuing a paid role there (not that I was ever invited to!)

They do exist, though, and most of the supervisors/specialists started as volunteers.

I would have loved to find some sort of creative role, but we're in the sticks so not much of anything around.

Try an organisation called taproot. They are a US org but I have heard they are looking to start over here.

They help people with skills like graphic design do pro bono work for smaller non profit organisations. So design a new logo or website for a charity etc.

Would give you stuff for a portfolio if you are looking to freelance.

kd73 Fri 14-Feb-14 09:04:38

Hi, I too trained as a volunteer bf peer supporter and now get paid to do i, without the volunteering I wouldn't have such a fab job :-)

SliceOfLime Fri 14-Feb-14 09:18:26

sebsmummy I have set up a small local non profit organisation, and I know there are loads of small groups in my area like residents' associations, gardening groups, baby groups (and me!) who would love some help with designing leaflets / posters / websites if that is the kind of thing you do? Just have a look round for small groups like that in your area and they will bite your hand off grin

SliceOfLime Fri 14-Feb-14 09:20:48

Also this is a lovely reassuring thread, I see so many SAHM / WOHM threads on here where people basically say "if you are a SAHM you will lose all your skills and never work again!" (And of course your husband will leave you etc...) So it's always nice to hear stories like these.

ProfYaffle Fri 14-Feb-14 09:22:27

Another CAB advisor here. It's fantastic for keeping in touch with the world of work. You're treated very much like an employee, training, appraisals etc. Personally I was in HR so use the CAB to keep my legal knowledge up to date as we get regular training. I'm hoping that when the time comes it'll make it easier for me to get back into paid employment.

fortyplus Fri 14-Feb-14 09:48:42

Thinking about it, you probably have a local 'volunteer bureau' that tries to match organisations needing help with people who have the relevant skills and time available. Ours has a little feature in the local paper every week.

drivinon9 Fri 14-Feb-14 13:30:21

Another one here who volunteered for an advice line for 18 months, and then got a paid role doing something similar. I'd not been in paid work for 6 years, and now I enjoy my new work much more than my previous job - so definitely possible & recommended.

1stMrsF Thu 20-Feb-14 10:10:30

I was the chair of our local twins club and also trained as a bf peer supporter. Neither led to paid work, but I did use examples from each of them in my interview for my current job, so I feel it was really helpful in getting back to work (had been SAHM for 4 years). I still do email bf peer support.

fuzzpig Thu 20-Feb-14 10:22:04

Yes I did.

I did a few things related to the children and family centre but the main thing was just volunteering in a charity shop.

It was great both in terms of actual experience like till training and customer service etc, and also the confidence it gave me after feeling isolated for years (I have social anxiety issues) - it definitely helped me get a job.

Hi folks, just thought I'd share with you that after trying to get back to work after six years as a sahm, the fact that I done had some part time work and voluntary work has really saved my skin! I was quite surprised how many employers were only interested in the last five years of my life and were not at all interested in anything before then so when answering interview questions etc, these experiences were so helpful! Just a thought, if you are staying at home, try and do even one night a week somewhere (pub, shop etc). Hope this helps.

happysingh Fri 21-Feb-14 23:55:25

Brilliant discussion! Sounds good to hear happy stories after being a SAHM! Just started to be SHAM.....My girls enjoy me being around them....I am planning to do something at least once a week....thx for all the advice and bw!!!!

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