Work/volunteer experience

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Work/volunteer experience

Post by LL20 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:49 pm

Hello everyone, I'm about to embark on a psychology conversion course at BCU. I'm doing it distance learning and part time to fit in with my kids aged 4 & 6 and also because alongside it, I hope to be able to do some relevant volunteer/paid work to build up my CV.

Post qualification, at the moment I'm leaning towards mental health and a career within clinical psychology. However as I don't have any previous experience of clinical psychology (apart from as a client myself, which is where my interest has risen from) it's not set in stone. I've studied an online interest course in psychology so I've got some knowledge of what the subject involves and I'm confident that it's what I want to study/work in - it's just the specialism that I'm still open to. Whatever I specialise in, I don't think it's going to be practical to embark on a doctorate until my kids are older and more independent anyway, so my plan is to work for a good few years before deciding when (and even if!) I want to progress onto further training.

Question is, in my situation what's the best sort of thing to be looking at work or volunteer wise? Should I be looking at practical mental health based volunteering (e.g Mind/Samaritans), something more general like support work/care work/hospital volunteer, something office based within a mental health/NHS/charity/psychology based setting or something else entirely I haven't thought of? Or a combination of all of them?

I'm conscious I'll need my CV to really stand out because when I apply for jobs I'll be limited by a) geographical area (don't want to sell house/move husband's job and kids' schools) b) working hours, (need to fit around school/wraparound care as I don't have anyone else to drop off/pick up)
c) lack of psychology undergraduate degree/experience and d) the fact I haven't worked for the past seven years since I've been a full time parent. Before I had the kids I worked as a recruitment consultant so not super relevant. So I'd love to know what sort of work/volunteering will open the most doors and provide the most relevant experience for during and after qualification.

Also, if anyone has done the BCU MSc part time distance learning and can advise on the workload and how much time I'd realistically have for work/volunteering then that would be great!

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Re: Work/volunteer experience

Post by miriam » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:26 pm

I'd start with support work/care work as the easiest way to get local paid work in convenient shifts as lots of care jobs are desperate to recruit, in old people's homes, children's residential care, services for people with learning disabilities etc. And there is still demand in charity sector roles that relate to substance misuse, homelessness etc that have a large overlap with mental health. Or work in a mental health role of any sort. Office/admin work, even in a mental health setting, is pretty much pointless.

If you want to volunteer, either contact local CPs explaining what you can offer, when and where. Or I'd go for something like volunteering with Shout (text based, so you can do it from home in the evenings) or Samaritans, where there is structured training and support.

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