Case Studies

Ryan Prior

Ashleigh Coney

During the last 12-18 months of university I logged over 400 hours of voluntary work; this included supporting adult learners to achieve maths and English qualifications and victim support role. However, I’ve spent the most time as a trustee (treasurer) at Middlesbrough Sea Cadets.

Being a trustee of a charity is a great way to gain experience in the management of an organisation. The local sea cadet unit in Middlesbrough provides great opportunities for young people, and they needed an extra body on the committee. Furthermore, there is a general lack of ‘young trustees’ in the country. Most charities could benefit from some age diversity on their boards if you ask me!

As a trustee, there are no ‘typical days’, really. In my role as treasurer the primary responsibilities are financial, I manage the bank account and bills, look for new funding streams, and ensure compliance with year-end accounts. Other than that, the trustees in general are responsible for adhering to any other legal duties - things like insurance, building maintenance, health and safety, and ensuring the staff have everything they need to ensure smooth day-to-day operations.

I’ve learnt a lot through volunteering! There are role-specific things such as non-profit finance, bidding for funding, etc. – and also generic transferrable skills such as communicating with different people – from helping adult learners with maths to networking with business professionals at fundraising events.

Volunteering has unlocked a whole world for me – there have been many new contacts I’ve made, and even business opportunities. Overall I’d have to say just being exposed to the great work that local organisations are doing every day. I definitely didn’t appreciate the scale and impact of such work in our local area before volunteering myself.

Advice to other volunteers? Get on board with every opportunity that presents itself where you can make new connections or learn new skills.

I have now graduate from Teesside with I intend to continue my non-profit career also. Currently my intentions are to continue on as treasurer of Middlesbrough Sea Cadets, and time-permitting, I’d also be interested in assisting other non-profits in general strategy & online marketing using the skills I’ve developed in business.

I am also currently work on two businesses. Most of my time is spent on Globe Digital, which is a digital marketing service co-owned by myself and a fellow Teesside University graduate Jonathan Hutton. The second business is a local cleaning service which I started up while still studying; it remains a part-time project up to now, but has potential for growth.