Volunteering success stories

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

Alex Hardy, Volunteering Coordinator

We’re really happy to hear that one of our volunteers has just landed himself a job at the brilliant Holburne Museum in Bath.

Oliver Merchant joined our volunteering team after responding to a call-out about helping Bristol Archives with the Vaughan Postcard collection. This was a two week intensive role where a team of volunteers helped research the images on a large collection of photographic postcards depicting Bristol in the 1900s. During this time Ollie got a chance to show us that he was not only very interested in the subject but that he was also very keen to work in the heritage sector.

photo of a man standing in front of the holburne museum in bath

Ollie outside The Holburne Museum in Bath

After this we had a chance to speak to Ollie and find out exactly what his ambitions included. He was a recent photography graduate but working in museums was something that had really taken his fancy. At the same time a long term volunteering opportunity had just opened up in our Development Team so we asked him if he would like to join and fortunately for us he said yes.

Our Development Team have the job of generating money for the museums and for specific or specialist projects through funding and sponsorship. Their work is intensive but highly rewarding so a perfect place for a volunteer to gain the experience they need to set them apart from the rest of the crowd. The variety of different tasks meant that Ollie was constantly being challenged and because of that he was able to gain lots of knowledge about the inner workings of a museum service.

When we offer young people like Ollie a long-term placement, we make sure that they get the mentorship and advice they need to aid their personal development. This is done on a one to one basis and every volunteer’s goals are different. We were able to help Ollie understand exactly what employers look for in applications and how to show off the experience he had gained with us.

Ollie spent a year working with the Development Team and during that time he was able to build the confidence and skills to apply for a role as the Development Officer for The Holburne Museum. He was offered the job and managed to make the jump from working as a volunteer to a full time member of staff in a very important role without any formal training or qualifications. We’ll remain in contact with Ollie and look forward to hearing how he’s progressing. This isn’t the first story of a volunteer gaining the skills needed to be able to find a job in an increasingly competitive industry, and we know it won’t be the last.

We’re always delighted to hear a success story from our volunteers but just as sad to see them go. Keep in touch Ollie!

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with us, head over to our jobs and volunteering section to find out what roles we currently have and to register your interest with us.

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