Read Nicole's story about volunteering alongside her studies

4 minutes

Here, recent English Literature and Language graduate Nicole Chapman shares her experience of volunteering during her studies at the University of Portsmouth.

Nicole first heard about the Volunteering team within the Careers & Employability Service through one of her friends, and keen to gain professional experience, decided volunteering would be a great opportunity for her too. Using the Volunteering Bank on MyCareer, she found an Administrative Assistant role with MHA Portsmouth to assist with their Live At Home scheme, which is an initiative that helps elderly people engage with their community and alleviate feelings of loneliness. Facilitated by the Volunteering team, Nicole met the MHA Volunteer Coordinator to find out more about the role and how to apply - which she did!

Once she started volunteering with MHA, Nicole quickly started on a project to digitise the charity’s records, and also began to design marketing materials to help them promote their fundraising events. She also had the opportunity to interact directly with the clients of the charity through helping run social events, an experience that she greatly enjoyed, as it helped her feel part of the wider Portsmouth community.

Throughout her time with MHA, Nicole was able to get involved in lots of other initiatives, such as marketing, design, event planning and fundraising. All of this valuable experience provided Nicole with a wealth of examples to use within job applications and interviews. She was able to utilise these when she applied for a Project Assistant role at the Careers & Employability Service, and found herself excitedly sharing everything she had done at MHA during the interview process. Volunteering also meant Nicole realised that helping and supporting her community was something that was important to her in terms of a future career, which helped her with a ‘why do you want this job’ question in the interview for the Project Assistant role, which she was successful in securing!

Nicole Chapman

Although I had initially wanted to volunteer to gain professional experience, I found that volunteering had many more benefits…I felt part of my community, made friends, and gained exposure to the world outside of student life…I would recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to understand what they want from their career whilst gaining the experience to pursue [it].

Nicole Chapman, English Literature and Language graduate

‘My volunteering experience helped me to understand the importance of community, a value which I will carry throughout my career.’

If you would be interested in volunteering, why not attend the Volunteering Fair 11am to 2pm on Wednesday October 26th at the Third Space? Forty different not-for-profit organisations will be in attendance to help you find a volunteering opportunity that’s right for you.

For more information about volunteering, please contact the team on, or book a volunteering appointment. You can also browse the volunteering opportunities available via MyCareer.