BusinesWorks is an innovative programme which aims to engage organisations and/or businesses with students and graduates from DMU. For our involvement with the programme, we explored the real business world by working with Waterfront Sports and Education Academy and as a result we discovered abilities of our own that we might not have been aware of before volunteering for the unique programme.
Here at Square Mile we strive to enhance experience and employability for students throughout their time at DMU by providing unique opportunities. Our latest blog competition was aimed at finding out how our opportunities had enhanced student volunteers employability and their experience at DMU. The blogs were a chance for individuals to express how volunteering through Square Mile had made them realise their career path, or in some cases changed their career goals altogether. The winner of our competition was awarded a £50 Highcross Gift Card.
With my initial interest in primary education, I began my volunteering journey in my first year with DSU volunteering, where I was part of the ‘Right to read’ programme at Imperial Avenue School writes Square Mile paired reading volunteer, Janvi Pala. I read with pupils in foundation stage two using the statutory method of phonics. It was then, that I started realising my passion for literacy and developing reading skills of pupils.Then, it all changed. One half-term I was reading my sisters school newsletter and saw an advert calling out for paired reading mentors; this was at secondary school, New College Leicester (where I previously attended).
‘What do you want to do when you finish uni?’ – The dreaded question for anyone who hasn’t quite got their life plan sorted out writes Square Mile primary school volunteer, Kelly Pearson. Every time I was asked this question along with the other feared questions like “So you haven’t got any plans after Uni?” and “How are you going to use your degree?” I could sense the disappointment coming.
My experience with Square Mile began when I was in the DMU Square Mile office one day, flicking through the leaflets and looking at what opportunities I could get involved in and what I could benefit from writes Maths Tutor Volunteer, Thomas Kinght.
I currently study Mechanical Engineering, and I am in my third and final year here at DMU which meant that I wanted to get involved in something I felt comfortable with. I needed a project that wouldn’t take up too much time; not to mention something else to broaden and spice up my CV for future employers to see. So that’s when I found out about the Square Mile STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
I have learnt that mentoring is about nurturing and encouraging, not just academic attainment writes Volunteer Mentor, Sarah Clark. The simple logic underpinning mentoring is consistency, which builds a relationship of trust that will inevitably teach your mentee that they are important, special and valued in an environment such as school that is chaotic, scary and overwhelming. The reward for mentoring is simple, it is the change in demeanor you witness and the knowledge that you helped develop that. Mentoring is only one aspect of my volunteering through square mile.
It is unbelievable to see how much of an impact you can make as a volunteer, writes DMU classroom assistant Afreen Ahmed. I started volunteering in a primary school working with children in year one. I was assigned to work with students who are learning English as an additional language, so it is their secondary language that they are learning. These pupils have little or no understanding of English. I attended my placement once a week and I gradually learnt all of the children’s names in the class.
There were many challenges to overcome whilst I taught and assisted the children with their tasks during lessons. At first it felt like an obstacle, but I gradually realised it was a learning curve, not just for the students, but also for a teaching assistant, like me. I learnt ways in which I could teach them. I soon realised that by being a smiley and friendly person it helped the children develop confidence overall. Facial expressions really do help when learning a second language.
Working with children for the first time was one of the many new and exciting challenges I faced when joining the mentoring scheme at New College Leicester writes Volunteer Mentor, Jonathan Boreland. The mentoring scheme aims to benefit students academically and help them as individuals. So, at New College Leicester I was paired with two year 7 students who had been identified with behavioural problems.
DMU audiology students are giving free hearing events for families and friends of players taking part in a huge 5-a-side tournament this weekend. Volunteers from DMU Square Mile are taking their equipment to Sheffield for the Special Olympics-linked event which will involve players from Yorkshire and Humberside.
DMU Square Mile has been shortlisted as finalists at the Tech4Good Awards 2014, placing us alongside other national organisations which have offered technological solutions and projects to help the public writes Jason Martin, DMU Square Mile Frontrunner.