By Rebecca Westaway
The current pandemic had led many people to search for greater meaning and purpose in their lives and to look for ways to make an impact either at work or in their local communities.
Volunteering isn’t only about stepping up in times of great national need (huge shout-out to all those who have and continue to support those in need).
Every year thousands of CIPD members volunteers help the Institute champion better work and working lives. From organising local branch events to supporting job seekers transition from education to meaningful employment, and governing the organisation, there are many ways CIPD members can make a positive difference for the benefit of people, organisations and society.
Volunteering with us
CIPD Manchester Branch forms part of a network of ten branches across the north of England (Northern Branch Network) and is one of 52 local branches across the UK nations and regions.
Our branch volunteers meet monthly to collaborate on a wide range of initiatives. We produce an annual programme of activities delivering continuous professional development, learning and networking opportunities to inspire and support people professionals to become experts on people, work and change. Our volunteers represent people professionals across every size of organisation and all sectors, with varying levels of professional experience.
All local branches will be focusing on three key themes from July 2020.
We’ve decided to mark #VolunteersWeek2020 by sharing our stories. Some volunteers serve as elected committee members and others serve as Ambassadors providing valuable support to the committee in its activities.
Read Emma’s story
My volunteering journey with CIPD Manchester started from regularly attending the Public Policy events where I gained insights on how the CIPD are working to shape public policy. I’m so proud to now be the branch lead for Public Policy, and I’m working to ensure that the voice of regional practitioners is heard.
We’ve had valuable sessions on a wide range of topics including Ethnicity Pay Gap, Family Friendly legislation and Immigration; it’s fantastic to see our members actively engaging and sharing their experiences to enable CIPD to include regional perspectives in response to government consultations.
On a personal level, Volunteering has pushed me out of my comfort zone; I’m not a natural networker and Volunteering has given me opportunities to develop my skills in this area. I feel more confident now when networking in my day job, and I feel it has helped me to progress in my career. I really enjoy collaborating with my fellow committee members and seeing the difference we make for the members of the CIPD Manchester branch. It’s so rewarding to meet with other volunteers from across the country who are all passionate about supporting the people profession to respond to the changing landscape of work.Emma Brookes
Public Policy Lead
Read Paul’s story
I have really enjoyed delivering workshops through the Career Ready virtual training and development workshops supporting FE students in understanding their strengths and being prepared for the opportunities which will be available to them post-COVID.
Volunteering has enabled me to have some time expanding my network, and therefore, my message and deliver and support individuals and organisations in a proactive way.
As a GoodSam volunteer, I’ve spoken to many people who are shielding whom I have never met before. It has not been the food or prescriptions that have helped them the most it has been the conversations and the ability to interact and speak with people – cost £0, impact priceless!!
Giving is just one of the five ways to Well-being (the others are, “be active”, “connect”, “keep learning” and “take notice”). Volunteering has helped me fulfil them all.Paul Hamlin
Read Jenn’s story
Jenn was recently invited to deliver an online session for HR students at Manchester Metropolitan University called ‘Working as an HR practitioner in challenging times’. The Level 7 students loved the session, which touched on the unique challenges HR professionals may face during times of crisis. Jenn also spoke about what we need to do to manage our well-being and the behaviours we must demonstrate to ensure that the businesses we are part of remain calm and in control. Jenn also discussed how HR leaders are guiding their businesses out of crisis and into different ways of working.
‘This session was aimed at supporting the next generation of HR leaders, who may be nervous about what their future career in the People profession may hold. I highlighted occasions in my career where crises have occurred and emphasised self-care and how vital HR teams are’.Jenn Hulme
Membership Engagement Lead
(First published by Alex Carr in CIPD Communities
Branch volunteers — our HR heroes! #HRtogether)
Read Stephen’s story
‘Volunteering has allowed me to greatly expand my professional network but also build new friendships and enhance my overall knowledge. Being involved in events focusing on the challenges of Modern Slavery has helped me see some of the unique challenges that HR and the wider business face. If I hadn’t been volunteering with CIPD Manchester, I would not have learnt about something like Modern Slavery and been able to get involved in raising its profile and the challenges we face in removing it from society’.Stephen McDonough
Social Media Lead
Read Emma’s story
‘Being a volunteer for CIPD Manchester has been, and continues to be, a fantastic learning experience. I have been able to grow my professional network and find ways through attending CIPD events to connect with people in the industry, and continue my professional development after completing my Masters. I honestly feel more confident in myself, and what I have to offer my organisation because of the knowledge I have gained and networks I am building. Also, as the Student Engagement Lead for the branch, I love being able to share my knowledge about working in HR & L&D with others, especially with our current CIPD students, to inspire them to engage with what we have to offer as a branch and an organisation.’Emma Smart
Student & Centres Engagement Lead
Read Daniel’s story
‘Volunteering for CIPD Manchester has helped me professionally by developing my network, confidence and overall awareness of the sector. I have made friends, been given fantastic opportunities and connected with people all across the city. It’s been amazing.’Daniel Taylor
Read Rebecca’s story
‘I joined CIPD Manchester as an Ambassador after relocating to the UK and currently lead on Employment Law. Being part of CIPD Manchester has helped me hugely both on a personal and professional level. My life is richer and definitely more rewarding. I’m always growing my network, using my talents and continue to develop new and valuable skills.’
Not so long ago, I returned to my former school, Alderley Edge School for Girls through Inspiring the future to talk about careers in Human Resources. I enjoyed interacting with pupils and representatives from many professions. Few pupils had considered pursuing a career in Human Resources. I was pleased to be able to promote the profession and the diverse career opportunities it offers.Rebecca Westaway
Employment Law Lead
Volunteering with CIPD
Develop your professional skills
The third sector is hugely important in the UK, but many small charities don’t have a dedicated HR team and often don’t have the resources available for training. CIPD members play a role in volunteering to support small charities, providing an opportunity to give back while also developing professional skills and experience.
Inspire the next generation
It’s often said that people fall into HR, they don’t choose it. But HR can be a hugely rewarding career, and young people deserve to be well informed about the full range of choices they have when weighing up their career options. One way to give back to local communities is by speaking with local schools about the many varied opportunities within the people profession. It’s a simple as sharing your story and opening pupils’ eyes to a career they may not have previously considered.
Please consider chatting to your local school about your job and career route. You can help pupils see the relevance of the subjects they’re studying. Talks can be particularly motivating and inspiring for those from more disadvantaged or challenged backgrounds.
Develop senior level experience
Senior professionals can also play a vital role in bridging the gap between employers and young people through senior-level engagement with a local school. The challenges many young people face when they transition from education to work are well documented, and one way to overcome them is through better connections between education providers and employers in their local area.
Develop your mentoring skills
CIPD members can develop and sharpen their mentoring skills through a variety of volunteer mentor programmes
- The CIPD Mentoring Programme is a member-to-member mentoring scheme where both parties involved are CIPD members representing the people profession.
- Steps Ahead Mentoring offers jobseekers one-to-one mentoring sessions to help them improve their employability skills, boost their confidence and find work. From using your knowledge of the recruitment process to helping a job seeker build their self-esteem, improve their CV or prepare for an interview. Your support and skills can make a real difference.
- The new Aspiring HRD Mentoring Programme provides up-and-coming leaders in the people profession with a structured opportunity to learn from senior leaders. As part of the CIPD’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Institute uses a fully accessible application process and focused recruitment on ensuring all groups are served, particularly under-represented groups (e.g. BAME).
Develop your communication skills
Many young people are leaving education unsure how to write a CV or prepare for a job interview, and as a result, are failing to meet employers’ expectations. The more contact young people have with employers while at school, the more likely they are to succeed in the future. HR or L&D professionals are well placed to help young people at this crucial stage of their lives. You can pledge as little as one hour a year to visit a local state school or college to take part in one of many sessions with support from a teacher, and it’s a great way to develop your communication skills.
- CV workshop
- Mock interview
- Career insight talk
- Careers fair
- Reading partner