Voluntary work can provide you with an opportunity to gain work experience and skills, and to make contact with potential future employers. You’ll also be making a contribution to your community.
Many non-profit organisations and charities depend on dedicated volunteers – and you could be one of them. You can find opportunities to volunteer through your nearest Volunteer Centre.
You can also search for voluntary work at Seek Volunteer.
Activity in the community is a programme through Work and Income that provides work experience opportunities in sponsored community projects. The work is unpaid, but they may cover the cost of some expenses.
Timebanking is an opportunity for you to trade your skills with other people in your community. Maybe you’re a keen gardener or knitter, or you can teach others computer skills. Visit Timebank Aotearoa to locate a timebank near you, register your details and make an offer of your skills.
Phillippa’s been volunteering behind the desk of the Cancer Society in Hamilton for 13 years. Watch her Question Time video to find out why she loves doing it and what she reckons life would be like without her paid and volunteer work.
Internships and work experience
Internships or work experience can be a good opportunity to learn skills to help you on your career path. Many internships or work experience are unpaid, so it’s important that you benefit from the experience in other ways. You’ll want to make sure you will be learning relevant skills from an experienced professional.
If you are a tertiary student, you may find that completing a period of work experience is an important part of your qualification. Your tertiary provider will be able to give some guidance about how to arrange an internship.
There are also internship programmes designed to support people with disabilities. The Be. Lab internship programme organises paid employment for students within an organization for four to sixteen weeks. The aim of the programme is to create opportunities for students, whilst providing a valuable and positive experience for employers. You can apply for the programme through your tertiary provider’s disability student services, or enquire at Be. Lab.
The Mainstream Internship Programme provides a subsidy and other support to enable employers to employ disabled students in short-term internships that are relevant to their course of study. Contact disability support services at your tertiary provider for more information and to find out if you are eligible.
Get support from a mentor
If you have career goals, but you’re not sure of the steps to get there, then finding a mentor who has experience in the field could be invaluable.
Carabiner Mentoring supports young people with disabilities to reach their goals by matching them up with adult mentors who have expertise in their area of interest. Participants need to be aged 17-24 years and demonstrate passion and perseverance for their goal, whether it’s recreational, academic or work.
You may be interested in finding other mentoring opportunities at the New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network.