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Volunteering kick started Heather’s psychology career

09 April 2018 @TeesUniNews

 

Volunteering while studying gave Heather Carabine the knowledge and skills she needed to start a career in mental health.

Heather Carabine
Heather Carabine

During her time at University, Heather, a psychology graduate, worked as a therapeutic care volunteer for two years at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

She now works as an Assistant Psychologist at a local NHS mental health Trust and says that volunteering helped her to get where she is today.

‘Volunteering was essential – it gave me the knowledge I needed about working with patients so that I could answer the questions fully at my job interview. A working knowledge of what was expected of me as an Assistant Psychologist was really important,’ Heather explained.

Heather volunteered through Volun-tees, the University programme which supports staff, students and recent graduates to engage in volunteering activities both within the local community and on volunteering programmes. She worked at the hospital during free time between lectures and sometimes spent full days there working with a Clinical Psychologist to deliver group interventions.

‘I was very nervous when I started volunteering but soon discovered how rewarding the work is and what a difference we as volunteers were making. The most important thing I learned was how to work with people,’ Heather said.

I was very nervous when I started volunteering but soon discovered how rewarding the work is and what a difference we as volunteers were making.

Heather Carabine, Assistant Psychologist

‘I began to see the potential for me to become highly skilled and qualified, knowing that I could continue to make a difference to patients.’

In recognition of students like Heather, University volunteers and partner organisations will be honoured at the annual Volun-cheers awards ceremony which takes place on Thursday 10 May.

The celebration, organised by Volun-tees, recognises individuals and groups for their outstanding contributions to volunteering, as well as awards for organisations which provide valuable support and experience.

Jayne Golden, Volunteer Project Co-ordinator at Teesside University, said: ‘It’s always fantastic to see University students engaging in local community projects and being a positive role model to all those they work with.

‘Volunteering provides an opportunity for students to develop their employability skills while studying and helps students to build contacts outside of the University.’

To find out more about volunteering, visit the Volun-tees website.