This week is National Volunteer Week, organised to celebrate the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways. It’s also a chance to think about why you might like to get involved in volunteering. Everyone in HMRC can take up to three extra days' leave each year to undertake voluntary work (as long as the activity delivers both business and personal development benefits) so what would you do?
Volunteering helps develop skills for work
I'm Ryan Preece, a Business Manager in HMRC digital and a volunteer. As I write this blog post I’m also doing the final preparation for my Scout group's annual camp. What most people see as a weekend of being sat round a fire singing “ging-gang-goolee”, is actually an opportunity for me to develop my logistical, management and organisational skills.
You may be surprised to learn that cooking 100 sausages, preparing a Spaghetti Bolognaise and ensuring the Scouts have brushed their teeth and look semi-respectable, all at the same time, requires a lot of the same skills as being a Business Manager in HMRC digital 😉
Knowing this and knowing how much I personally get out of volunteering, I recently helped organise an event designed to bring together willing HMRC volunteers and local charities including Alzheimers Society, Wonder Years and Civil Service Reserves. The day was a great success and a number of organisations signed people up to take part in local projects.
Doesn't have to be a regular commitment
If this sounds like too much commitment and you’re worried you don’t have time to volunteer, don’t be! Volunteering takes on many forms. For example we frequently have schools contacting us asking for HMRC employees to form mock interview panels or take part in careers talks. If you can only spare an hour to take part in some form of volunteering, charities and organisations will be extremely grateful, and I can promise you, you will feel a sense of incomparable sense of pride and achievement.
One of the most common questions I get when telling people about how I lead a Scout troop is “Why do you give up Friday evenings to volunteer?” . The answer is easy, I don’t give them up, I embrace them. I’m really happy to volunteer, it has given me the opportunity to grow and develop as a person, as well as learn new skills and give something back at the same time.
Being an active volunteer is something I am immensely proud of, but also something that remains quite personal. No one volunteers for reward or recognition, but rather the opportunity to be involved in something they're passionate about, to support the local community, and for me, more than anything else the immense sense of pride I get to feel, when I see someone develop a new skill or accomplish something for the first time.
So if you work for HMRC or are thinking about applying for one of our vacancies, don't forget to make the most of your 3 days' volunteering leave. You won't regret it and neither will the people you help.
Ryan Preece, Business Manager and Leader of 2nd Church Aston Scout Group
Find out more about volunteering events near you this week on the website Volunteers Week website