Our first article of the week is about Oliver Earle. Oliver is the first of two students to have achieved our Gold Aber Award in recognition of his volunteering! Since September alone he has recorded over 120 hours of volunteering and it’s not hard to see why!
What Volunteering roles do you have?
- Listening Volunteer and Trainer for Aberystwyth Nightline
- Welfare Officer for Aberystwyth German Society
- NUS National and Wales Candidate
- A-Team Volunteer
- Currently training to become a St. John Cymru Wales Basic First Aider (BFA)
Outside of University:
- IT Support Specialist for the Nightline Association
- Webmaster for Hostelling International USA
Why do you volunteer?
To be honest, I originally got into volunteering in order to improve my employability and to develop new and existing skills. Having studied Computer Science at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, I know what a competitive industry it is, so I was willing to get involved with as much as possible to stand out from the competition. I also wanted to have a wealth of experiences to draw upon that other candidates might not have.
Through volunteering, I ended up getting hooked on Nightline and the whole student welfare movement. I became increasingly involved purely out of the enjoyment and the ability to be able to help the student community, and being able to be involved with the greater Nightline community both in Aber, across the UK and Ireland, which are really fantastic.
What is your best feel good moment as a volunteer?
As a Nightliner I've really had the opportunity to reach out and make a difference to someone who really needed someone to listen to them and to support them. There are many memorable moments where I've felt like that although I haven't been able to take away someone else's burden, I have been able to help them carry it, at least for a little while. Outside of that, I especially loved collecting and welcoming International Students as an A-Teamer on the Meet and Greet trips in previous years to Birmingham Airport too - that was a lot of fun!
What benefits have you gained as a volunteer?
I have personally benefited from the wealth of experiences I've developed from several years of volunteering and it definitely gives me a lot to talk about with potential employers. It has really helped me to sharpen both skills directly needed for my volunteering roles, but it has also helped me develop interpersonal and soft skills that are incredibly important today. Not to mention the networking opportunities that have been incredibly helpful in planning my career. It sounds really cliché, but you really do get a lot out of it.