HFVC is one of London’s leading Volunteer Centres in terms of helping support local people to find employment. For many years we have proven that volunteering is a gateway to employment and have run large scale employment programmes for Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Department of Work & Pensions, London Councils and many more.
Lisa 38, is a single parent with two children, despite a lot of experience as a sales and a willingness to work, she faced numerous barriers that prevented her getting a job. She heard about HFVC’s employment services whilst visiting Shepherd’s Bush Jobcentre Plus. Given her set of circumstances, Lisa was not confident that she would be able to move from benefits into work. She made an appointment to meet an employment advisor at the Volunteer Centre. She was introduced to consultant Sheku and they quickly formed a friendship. Together they identified the barriers that prevented her from working and completed an action plan. Sheku showed Lisa how her voluntary work and experience as a parent gave her many of the skills required to work as sales assistant, and helped her create a CV that focussed on these attributes. Sheku explained the different methods of finding and applying for work, and Lisa started using the internet, email and phones at HFVC’s Job Station to search and apply for suitable jobs. In addition to her regular meetings with Sheku, Lisa attended HFVC ‘Confidence-building’ workshop and undertake mock interviews with different members of staff to ensure that she felt comfortable in different interview scenarios.
Less than six weeks after coming to the Volunteer Centre, Lisa was delighted to accept a position as a customer service assistant in White City, and Sheku supported her during the transition from benefits into work, providing funding and vouchers to cover her travel costs, and helping her to apply for the relevant in-work benefits. Sheku continues to keep in touch with Lisa to track her progress and make sure she has the support she needs in her new role.
Jose had never had a job in the UK and was struggling to get an interview. Despite his vast experience in the field of accounting and was worried he would never find employment. He was then referred to the RAISE project. Jose’s advisor saw instantly that he needed help getting his confidence back. He supported Jose with his interview skills by doing a rigorous mock interview and helped him produce a new CV. A finance assistant role was available at the University of Brighton. Jose had been keen to get into this industry. He was put forward for the job and invited for an interview. The interview was a huge success and Jose was offered the position. Jose has regained his confidence and now feels he has a clear career path to follow.
Jose said: “I would like to thank the Hammersmith and Fulham Volunteer Centre for their help giving me the opportunity to get experience in the UK, helping me to develop my skills, improving my CV, showing me how to fill in application forms or how to stand out when doing interviews.”
Laure said that HFVC “is very effective in helping job seekers into sustainable employment.
For the few weeks I have been on the program, I have learnt a lot about myself and the skills needed in the work environment. The project really helped me grow in my ability as a writer. I learnt the principles of effective CV writing skills, job interviews I am more aware of my weaknesses and strengths.
I recommend this project to all jobseekers or those wanting to change their career.”
“I must thank you for the excellent support, guidance, & professional service your organisation has given me. It started with a phone call to H&F Volunteer Centre. I had been unemployed for over six months, my confidence, motivation, was low. I had decided to try volunteering as a way back into work, I had already been phoning/emailing companies, a friend mentioned to me to get in touch with HFVC. I got the number via the number via the internet, phoned & spoke to their receptionist who booked me an appointment. On my first appointment, I was referred to Sheku the employment advisor who was warm, friendly, professional, and extremely resourceful.
After the first meeting, I felt positive, motivated, encouraged, things began to happen almost immediately. I received a phone call from a security training company I had emailed about volunteering myself as an SIA security trainer, I have the qualifications, but very little experience, I was invited to sit in on a training session, it was a great experience, I was well received and since then I have been offered the opportunity to gain experience with a view to working within this organisation.
I also received a phone call a week later from one of the many jobs I have applied for through the job search sessions at HFVC, I got the job straight away working as a carpenter. I have been working for the last three weeks and enjoying every minute of it. A few days into my new job Sheku phoned me to inquire as to how I was and how the job was going; naturally I replied things were great! Sheku then informed me of another job offer closer to home which he would like to me to apply for, I agreed as my confidence and self-belief is as powerful as it has ever. Thanks to Sheku’s belief and the positive support I had been receiving, I spoke to the organisation, Age UK, attended an interview and was offered the job! It is a great opportunity which I cannot afford to turn down. I have options, choices, support great prospects, I am still receiving help with fuel, self-employment advice, business advice & more!
“I would recommend HFVC to the unemployed, employed, and self-employed. My experience there created opportunities and new future for me.” – Louis
“Although I have extensive overseas work experience as an HR Manager, I was having great difficulty securing my first UK-based HR role. HFVC arranged the perfect volunteering opportunity for me. It fitted around my (non-HR) temporary job and provided the hands-on UK experience which had been missing from my CV. Five months later, I’ve accepted an HR & Recruitment role in a private-sector care home, and my career is off to a flying start.” – Muhammad S
Ana said volunteering made a world of difference in getting a job:
“It definitely has, because all of my friends who graduated with me are still either unemployed or doing their part-time jobs which are not related to their degrees and basically, if you look around,
about 2 million different people have the same qualifications with the same grade so it doesn’t distinguish you from other people. So the reason my CV stood out (and they told me this actually in the interview), the reason they gave me the job was because of the experience I’ve got… and because it’s volunteering, it shows that you are dedicated and you want to be there, which is slightly different to a job that’s paid. So yes, this experience has basically made a massive difference for me.”
Volunteer Stories at HFVC
Volunteer Giulia from Italy describes her experience volunteering with the Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre:
‘My name is Giulia Bruzzone, I have been volunteering with the Hammersmith and Fulham Volunteer Centre since August on my EVS (European Volunteer Service), part of Erasmus + and previously known as Youth In Action.
What I have been doing is helping the Volunteer Centre to organise some events. During the last few months I took part in the following:
- I helped to organize an events for young people with learning disabilities, “The AIM event: Action on Disability summer festival”
- I took part in Local council summer Playday event for children
- I helped my colleagues in another event called “Butts Farm” which was a community event
In all of these one off events I did a lot of creative stuff like face painting, t-shirt making and so on.
I recently began a new project, “Our Stories Our Voices”: this project is about the refugee community that wants to tell traditional stories about their countries; and we are helping them to express themselves in writing and illustrating their stories. In the meantime I’m working to create a website and a blog to talk about and promote EVS projects.
Working for the Hammersmith and Fulham volunteer centre helped me to improve my English, my communication skills and helped me to know how to work in a team. But, first of all, working here is helping me to develop more confidence in myself.
I have realised doing an EVS project is a great opportunity for those who enjoy volunteering, helping people and meeting new people.
Volunteer Elia Miglianico from France explains what it was like to volunteer at the Hammersmith and Fulham Volunteer Centre:
‘I worked in the HFVC during three months.
When I arrived in London, I went to the HFVC office to meet my boss, Luisa Messina, the staff and volunteers.
It was very interesting to meet new people and hear English spoken with different accents. They explained to me what they do, and who does what.
Everyone was happy and curious to meet me, and it was the same for me because I had never worked in another country except mine. They asked me where I was from, where I lived… and I tried to answer with the few words of English I knew at the beginning.
My work consisted of reception and administration work. The work at the reception was more complicated than I thought at the beginning because it was in English, but, after one or two weeks, I was more comfortable and I started to answer the phone. I also updated V-Base [volunteering opportunity database].
In September, I started to go to AgeUK to help with the afternoon tea.
When I arrived in England, all people told me I had good English but I needed to improve my conversation.
Everyone tells me now that my English has really improved, and I can see that:
- I can have a real conversation with people, but only with one person at a time.
- I can answer the phone without stress!
- I can take the bus on my own because someone showed me the way.
- I can write a report in English.
- I can ask someone in the street for directions.
The team is very professional and very nice so if someone would like to have a volunteering experience go there.’
Everyone at HFVC thanks Elia and Giulia for being amazing volunteers. They are greatly missed and always welcome back at any time.