Hannah Dixon on Life After Volunteering

Posted on by Melanie Charlton

How volunteering helped me... 

When I left university I had no idea what I wanted to do in life and quickly fell into work in Customer Services. While I enjoyed working in this field and progressed well, I knew it was not what I wanted to do forever. After having two children I realised that this was the ideal time to have a rethink about my career.

 I was keen on the idea of working in schools and potentially in the long term on becoming a teacher. However, having absolutely no experience in this field (apart from looking after my own children!) I decided to look into volunteering. 

I discovered some opportunities to volunteer at the National Coal Mining Museum, by looking on their website. They were advertising for Library Research Volunteers with a focus on storytelling for the under-5s audience. This seemed like the ideal opportunity to gain some experience of working with children. At first this was daunting, but with the fabulous help and support of both the Library and Education departments at the museum I helped to create and run a weekly session, incorporating nursery rhymes, songs, stories and arts and crafts.

This opportunity helped me to realise that working with children was the career change that I wanted to focus on. I also began volunteering in a local school once a week. After much thought, I started to apply for jobs as a Teaching Assistant. I undertook a course to introduce me to this job role, with Kirklees College, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And to my surprise I accepted a job offer in March as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school.

 My future aims are now to work to gain further experience and then I hope to study for a PGCE in Primary Education within the next few years. I have the museum to thank for giving me the confidence to take the next steps in my career and of course the valuable experience of working with children that I needed. Volunteering has been a great starting point for me and I will not forget how useful it was. My advice to others thinking about volunteering would be to give it a go…you never know where it will lead you!   

Volunteering – the benefits: 

-        experience in the field you want to work in

-        confidence building

-        provides contacts and allows you to network in your chosen field.

-        You can stop at any time – if you decide its not for you you have not lost anything

-        inspires you to go further

-        gives you the valuable experience that employers or training providers are looking for

-        helps you decide if its the career for you or it may take you in a completely different direction to what you originally thought


Good luck!

Above: Hannah entertains the Wacky Wednesday group with a story.

To find out more about volunteering at the museum click here

Posted in Volunteering


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