Students and graduates of any subject will be familiar with the advice to engage in volunteering to boost their CV and amp up their employability. There are many benefits to volunteering, some of which suitably give students and graduates the confidence, skills and experience to enter a professional setting.
For engineers, a volunteering opportunity can be the perfect springboard to a career they feel passionate about. The volunteering doesn’t have to be in an engineering or technical role for there to be benefits, however the most sector specific the opportunity, the more applicable the volunteering is to professional applications.
Benefits of Volunteering for Engineering Students and Graduates
There are many personal and professional advantages to volunteering opportunities. Here are some key benefits for engineering students and graduates:
Volunteering placements provide the perfect opportunity for prospective engineers to develop their soft skills alongside their technical skills. Communication, team working, presenting, leadership and more are all important skills for any professional setting that can be improved by volunteering. For students, volunteering can help improve confidence and approach to new challenges. For graduates, volunteering can aid in understanding industries and professional settings they may be applying to.
Develop Professional Relationships
Whatever form of volunteering is done and wherever, students and graduates will no doubt meet others with similar interests. Relationships with individuals and businesses can be helpful down the line for expanding your network, getting a job or asking for a reference. To professionally stay in touch with other volunteers, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn – read our helpful blog on creating the ultimate LinkedIn profile for engineers to get started.
Gain Sense of Pride
Volunteering is a great way to socialise and reduce feelings of stress and loneliness. The rewarding feeling and sense of pride that comes with volunteering can have effects on mental health. As pro bono work is often uncommon or irregular in professional settings, volunteering offers a chance to do something for others.
Through volunteering, students and graduates will be able to do things and explore sectors they may otherwise not have experienced. For example, through volunteering as a mentor, an engineering student may discover a passion for leadership, or while undertaking an international sustainability project, a graduate may decide to specialise in sustainable energy. Volunteering can therefore inform future job choices.
Gain Work Experience
For engineering students and graduates with little industry experience, volunteering can help. Even if you don’t volunteer in an engineering role but instead do fundraising or other opportunities, valuable professional experience will be gained. Spending time in a work environment with professionals can be viable work experience, especially for engineering jobs that require little to no experience.
Aside from personal benefits, volunteering has direct professional advantages too that impress employers. By giving up free time and benefitting local communities, engineering students and graduate volunteers show they are passionate about engineering and have a genuine interest. For aspiring engineers, highlighting passion and interest can be just as valuable to employers as education.
Volunteering Opportunities for Student and Graduate Engineers
There are plenty of STEM related volunteering charities and initiatives to encourage growth and interest in the sector, ideal for engineering students and graduates.
Volunteer as a mentor
Mentoring can be an extremely rewarding volunteering opportunity, and usually involves working directly with school and university students to inspire and generate interest in a certain field, such as engineering. This may be as simple as regularly leading a class or session to teach, or more long-term involving projects and assessments for mentees. Mentoring is popular for university students and graduates who can talk about their university experience, give advice on courses, and provide tips for report writing and other professional skills.
Help a local business/charity
Often a far less formal set up but just as beneficial, volunteering for a local business or charity can be a relaxed and convenient way to help out. Even one afternoon a week helping with admin duties, project planning or day to day activities can hugely help a business and charity as well as give students or graduates useful skills in communication, marketing and more. If more complex or international volunteering opportunities are out of scope, choosing a local organisation willing to help is a great way to still get the benefits.
Check out engineering volunteering platforms
There are various organisations that cater to engineers and the STEM industry, ideal for engineering students and graduates looking for industry-specific opportunities. This type of volunteering opportunity can be extremely attractive on a CV, highlighting interest in the field as well as working with known organisations. There is often the opportunity to work on projects within schools or even internationally.
Popular engineering volunteer programmes include:
Learn More with BMR Solutions
If you are a student or graduate looking for a job in engineering, BMR Solutions can help. We specialise in pairing talented individuals with established organisations within the engineering ad technical industries.
To get started on your engineering career, or find your next career move, get in touch with BMR Solutions!
See more: Top In-Demand Engineering Jobs 2021