News Blog Student Volunteers week - we chat to some of our incredible supporters Carol & Terry Not all our student volunteers are in their teens, we wanted to speak to chat to Carol and Terry who are a fantastic couple who donate a lot of their time to the charity wihle studying too. How did you hear about Devon Air Ambulance? Terry noticed the shop and Googled the Devon Air Ambulance to find out more about the charity. What made you volunteer for the charity? We had both already been shop volunteers for another charity, but we wanted more varied roles, so we decided to try the Devon Air Ambulance shop as it was new and the people we spoke with were really friendly. What are you currently studying? Terry is currently studying City and Guilds English Level 2 and I have just completed my BTEC Level 2 in Customer Service through Derby College which is offered as part of the volunteering role with the Devon Air Ambulance. What are your future aspirations? We hope to complete more retail qualifications through the programme offered through the Devon Air Ambulance shop. There are a range of NVQ modules such as Retail Skills, Team Leading and Warehousing. What do you think are the main benefits of volunteering for us? We both really enjoy volunteering and we have developed lots of confidence and experience though it. We undertake a variety of different tasks and activities and as a result have gained plenty of customer service experience and Terry has also improved his communication skills. And do you think Devon Air Ambulance has helped you to get closer to your future goals? Yes, volunteering has given us the confidence to begin our studies and the staff and volunteers have encouraged us to do this. What advice would you give to any students thinking about volunteering? Give it a try! Ashley We grabbed 5 minutes out of Ashley Birch's busy day to ask him a few questions about how he's getting on. How did you hear about DAAT? I was once a Devon Air Ambulance patient myself when I needed to be transferred between hospitals for treatment myself. What inspired you to volunteer for the charity? I love the Charity and the lifesaving work that it does. I wanted to give something back having had first-hand experience with the charity myself. What were you studying at the time of volunteering for DAAT? I was studying Entry Level Maths at City College Plymouth. What are your future aspirations? I hope to complete my course then and then get a place on an Access Course so I can go to university. I would like to either go into teaching or into the health sector. What do you think are the main benefits of volunteering for DAAT? I have found volunteering extremely beneficial. Working on the till has really helped me improve my maths. I have also gained important customer service experience and grown a lot in confidence. I have been able to use my volunteering as a placement as part of my course. And do you think your experience with the charity has helped you in any way to get closer to your goals? Yes, it has. I have passed one qualification since joining and I am now onto the next. My teachers have commented that they have noticed the improvement since I began volunteering and I generally feel much more confident than I was before. What advice would you give to any students thinking about volunteering? Go for it! I love volunteering in the shop because I am always learning new things and meeting new people. James James is a Plymouth University student who has kindly commited some of his free time to supporting the charity. He shares his experiences with us this Student Volunteering Week in a quick chat. How did you hear about DAAT? I read about Devon Air Ambulance in the Plymouth University Volunteering Newsletter, which is full of great opportunities for young people and those who are studying. What inspired you to volunteer for Devon Air Ambulance? I've always wanted to become a little more charitable and to build my confident as I approach my 20s, and volunteering is a great way to achieve these aims. What were you studying at the time of volunteering for DAAT? Right now I'm studying Civil Engineering at Plymouth University. What are your future aspirations? I'm really keen to design a structure on the Tana River in Kenya to control seasonal flooding. What do you think are the main benefits of volunteering for DAAT? Volunteering allows you to meet all sorts of new people and to help those who find themselves in difficulty by lending your time and energy to an organisation. And do you think DAAT helped you to get closer to your goals? Yes, definitely. It has been a rewarding experience so far. What advice would you give to any students thinking about volunteering? Just do it! Natalie Here's what Natalie had to say about her experience with the charity. How did you hear about Devon Air Ambulance? I originally heard about Devon Air Ambulance from my mother-in-law, who moved to Devon from the Midlands,. She was a member of the Women's Institute, an organisation that often promotes events together with DAAT. What inspired you to volunteer for Devon Air Ambulance? After I'd arrived in England from Brazil, one of the first things that I noticed was how volunteering was such an important institution. I started noticing how many events and organisations were made a reality inspired by the desire of volunteers to work to contribute to a better society. I too felt an urge to be a part of the movement and to connect to the community in which I live. What are you studying while volunteering for DAAT? I'm studying IT Skills and Administration. It can be challenging to fit in studying, working and being a volunteer, but once I organised my life and created a proper schedule, my commitments to the causes I believed in helped me to feel rewarded and fulfilled. What are your future aspirations? My future aspirations are to become fully-integrated into the community where I live and to feel that I am making a positive impact on the people around me, alongside pursuing a career as an Administrative Assistant or Secretary. What do you think are the main benefits of volunteering for Devon Air Ambulance? There are a lot of benefits to volunteering in general, and more specifically for DAAT. My experience has given me the opportunity to improve my social and communication skills, develop my sense of teamwork and leadership, and it has introduced me to new people who share similar passions and values. But the main benefits of volunteering for DAAT is that you know your work, time and efforts are going towards a cause that impact the health and well-being of your community, and that everyone who is involved with the charity has the same ambition to positively contribute to the people of Devon by using their abilities. It is a passion you can see in every single one of the employees, supporters and volunteers. How has volunteering helped you to get closer to your goals? I believe that by working within a charity as a volunteer you can employ your personal abilities to bring about great results. That in itself is already fulfilling, but also you are introduced to new people, new ideals and new approaches that can only improve your chances of creating the building blocks for your career, and enhancing your professional as well as your personal life. What advice would you give to any students thinking about volunteering? Just do it! You will only receive positive outcomes from the experience. Volunteering will introduce you to people with a similar mindset to you and you'll experience the rewards of contributing to your community as well as having a healthy impact on your professional skills and development. Are you a volunteer who would like to share your experience with Devon Air Ambulance? Do drop us a line; we're always keen to share inspiring stories. Zack Cara Jones chats to Zack, a student volunteer who was keen to lend his time and energy to a worthy cause. How did you hear about DAAT? My mum told me about the charity shop and she said it would be a nice place to work because it had such friendly staff. She thought it would be a good place to volunteer too as she had visited there fairly often. What inspired you to volunteer for DAAT? I was at college at the time and I wanted to get some workplace experience to help boost my confidence in talking/socialising with people. I had considered dropping out of college, but also I wanted to volunteer specifically at DAAT as a family friend was thrown off a horse on Dartmoor many years ago and needed to be rescued as she had been so badly injured. Devon Air Ambulance managed to get there and help quickly, and she didn't have to wait for a land ambulance. Because of this and the other stories I have heard about the charity I thought it would be good to volunteer as I had already seen where the money and support went. What were you studying at the time of volunteering for DAAT? I was studying Art and Design, specialising in Graphic Design. My interest was mainly in Film and Photography as well as some poster design. What are your future aspirations? Right now I'm thinking about what I want to achieve and my possible career direction. Currently I am looking at the possiblity of going into Civil Engineering or Architecture, as I want a career that makes an impact on the world, helping to make a positive difference to people, not just in this country, but elsewhere too. What do you think are the main benefits for volunteering with us? Well, first of all it is very good for getting experience, which can really help make the leap from education to work. Also it's good to support a very local charity where you can see the result of the efforts and fundraising, which is to keep the helicopters flying. With a lot of other charities you need to look into where time and money has helped, bit with DAA it's very obvious. Finally, I would also say it is a good way to make a few new friends and build up confidence as it did with me. And do you think volunteering has helped you to get closer to your future goals? Volunteering has definitely helped some of my goals to become clearer and feel more obtainable. An important goal for me is to make an impact on the world, and volunteering helped me to realise it isn't all about building huge housing projects in Kenya, or driving lorry fulls of supplies to Syria, you can make a difference by doing something as simple as serving and helping customers in a shop. By lending time you can help people in distress and save lives and I think that knowledge has helped me to realise that my goal of changing the world can be achieved in a variety of ways. What advice would you give to any students thinking about volunteering? I would say that even if it's just a few hours a week it is a worthwhile experience - not just for whatever career you're purusing, but the experience will help you to become more confident and possibly make some new friends and connections, all whilst working for a charity which saves and helps hundreds of lives every year. So there we have a it! A week in the lives of some of our brilliant volunteers. If you're interested in using a little free time to support the charity, whether or not you are studying, then do find out more about ways you can help. If, like Carol and Terry, you would like to find out more about developing qualifications as part of your volunteering experience, then we'd love to hear from you.