Volunteer Development Path

UNA Exchange is committed to the personal development of young people. The range of opportunities that we offer and co-ordinate are well suited to be used as a "stepping stone" where volunteers can progress at their own pace over a longer period of time. Whilst many people may only take part in one activity, there is a lot more to gain from building up experiences through a range of volunteering. UNA Exchange staff and volunteers can provide ongoing support throughout the "volunteer career" progression.

What follows here is an example of a possible three year volunteering career progression through UNA Exchange. There are many variations to this but we have included it to illustrate the skills and experiences that can be gained from UNA Exchange.

Month 1: Weekend project in Wales – Construction work at Menter y Felin Uchaf, Wales
Skills/experiences: clearing land, constructing a roundhouse, groupwork, communication skills, social interaction, cultural exchange.

Month 7: International Volunteer Project – Renovation work in the Alpes, France
Skills/experiences: travel abroad, French language, renovation work, communication, cooking for a group, discovering the local area, cultural interaction.

Month 10: Returned Volunteers Weekend – Evaluation Event, Cardiff
Skills/ experiences: sharing experiences, contributing to & learning more about UNA Exchange, reflecting on and realising more about recent experiences, meeting new people.

Month 11: Exchange Training – Cardiff
Skills/experiences: learning about development issues, finding out about volunteering in the global South, meeting people from Africa and Asia.

Month 14: Apply for European Voluntary Service (EVS) – Long-Term Project in Portugal
Skills/experiences: begin to prepare for six month placement on community work project in Portugal. Start to learn Portuguese. Meet other people joining long term projects.

Month 15: Leadership Training course – Four day course near Cardiff
Skills/experiences: teamwork, problem solving/conflict resolution, group dynamics & motivation, styles of leadership, health & safety.

Month 16: International Volunteer Project – HIV/Aids awareness work in Kenya
Skills/experiences: travelling in a developing country, learn about the reality of HIV/Aids in an African country, educational work with other young people, understanding and appreciation of issues surrounding poverty.

Month 18: Leading project in Wales – Maes yr Haf playscheme, Rhondda Valley
Skills/experiences: co-ordinating a group for two weeks, building up confidence, problem solving, planning & logistics, work with children.

Month 19: EVS project – Start of six months in Portugal  
Skills/experiences: independence, language skills, appreciation of different ways of living and working, get to know another country, new friends, working skills.

Month 24: End of EVS project – Return home

Month 26: EVS Returned Volunteers Forum – Evaluation Event, Cardiff
Skills/experiences: share experiences with other returned EVS volunteers, reflection on skills learnt and ideas for the future.

Month 28: Training for Trainers course - Join a Training Team
Skills/experiences: project management, group dynamics, learning styles, facilitation skills, growth in confidence, presentation skills.

Month 34: Annual General Meeting - Join UNA Exchange Executive Committee
Skills/experiences: managing people, resources and activities, knowledge of legal responsibilities, budget & accounting awareness, strategic planning and management.

See the case studies on the next page.