Campaigns role leads to new career opportunity
Rebecca Stacey (pictured left with colleague Ming), who joined the Campaigns team 11 months ago, describes how working at Citizens Advice Westminster has helped develop her skills and experience so that she has now launched her career as a campaigns specialist.
Why did you choose Citizens Advice Westminster rather than any other charity?
Because I wanted to support the invaluable work that Citizens Advice Westminster does for the local community, and develop my skills and knowledge with a charity that has a closer understanding than any other organisation of the problems that people experience.
What satisfaction do you get from your role as a Campaigns volunteer?
Being able to take part in a structured volunteering programme that provides me with the opportunities to continually develop my skills and experiences is very satisfying. In turn, using my skills to undertake work that seeks to improve the lives of local residents is extremely rewarding, and being surrounded by colleagues who share the same motives makes for a very fulfilling volunteering experience.
What has been your most challenging or successful assignment?
In anticipation of Universal Credit (UC) being rolled out in Westminster, I undertook interview research alongside the Policy and Campaigns team at Westminster Food Bank with residents who were trialing UC. This was so that we could identify the key issues that they were facing, and better prepare for the roll out of UC in light of these. Digital exclusion was a key issue that claimants expressed facing, as many claimants were not confident online nor did not have sufficient access to digital facilities. The Policy and Campaigns team, therefore, created a booklet that listed details of all the digital services available in Westminster, alongside the benefit count for each individual ward. This meant that not only could we identify where there would be an increased demand for these digital services, but also where clients could be signposted to should they require support in accessing and managing their UC claim online. This assignment was also successful in that it provided a resource for advisers to use with clients.
How has volunteering here helped you in your career?
One of the reasons that I started volunteering at Citizens Advice Westminster was to develop my research skills so that I could pursue a career in policy. The skills and experiences that I gained through volunteering here meant that I was able to get a policy and campaigns internship at the British Youth Council, before going on to work as a Policy and Communications Assistant at the UK Health Forum and Obesity Health Alliance. Alongside undertaking these two roles, I continue to volunteer at Citizens Advice Westminster because I am continually developing my skills and learning new things, whilst maintaining up-to-date knowledge about welfare policy.
What would be your message to anyone thinking of volunteering at Citizens Advice Westminster?