Lizzie Alcock began a three-day internship with Discovery, Swansea University’s student-led charity during her third year of University. This turned into two and a half years of volunteering on their projects and being employed as Discovery’s Volunteer Recruitment Officer after graduating.
Discovery was a really important part of my undergraduate and postgraduate life, and provided me with my first graduate level job as a Volunteer Recruitment Officer.
As I entered the third year of my Psychology degree, I was looking for more from my university experience, and had very little work experience, so I undertook a 3 day internship with Discovery.
This ended up leading to 2 and a half years of volunteering on Discovery’s projects, managing a project supporting disabled adults and 3 further internships. I was also able to connect with likeminded people, who have become lifelong friends.
Being part of the Discovery community as a student benefitted my mental health, allowed me to develop leadership skills by becoming a Project Coordinator and student president on their board of trustees, and boosted my confidence, amongst other transferable skills. Discovery were a huge influence in me undertaking my MSc from 2018-2019 so that I could continue volunteering, whilst putting my learning into practice.
After graduating, I was employed by Discovery for a year as their Volunteer Recruitment Officer – my first graduate job. I enjoyed being able to give back to Discovery and to support the new student volunteers, ensuring their volunteering journey was as fun and fulfilling as mine was.
Discovery gives a lot to the students of Swansea University as well as to the wider community and helps build the relationship between students and local residents. Students provide weekly activities and support for those who need it in the community and organise monthly beach cleans to keep Swansea Bay tidy.
In exchange, Discovery helps students develop confidence, leadership and time management skills, aiding their employability.
I can’t find the words to express how much Discovery added to my time at University, and encourage other students to get in touch with them if they are interested in volunteering:
Like many students, volunteering with Discovery was one of the defining university experiences for alumnus Kritsanaphong Sangraksa, and shaped his future career, working for a children’s charity.
The Discovery Office is the place that defines my time at Swansea University. I met so many amazing people; from the dedicated staff and volunteers to the wonderful people we helped to support. Volunteering shaped my career path and changed my attitude towards work – it made me realise that it is possible to love what you do.
On 2 December 2016, my university experience took a massive turn. I had just become a volunteer Project Coordinator for Discovery with a friend. As Project Coordinators, we organised outings for vulnerable young people. I enjoyed every single trip and the staff were so supportive. It gave me a real sense of purpose and fulfilment.
I got to do so much because of Discovery but my personal highlight was being lucky enough to go Siavonga in Zambia. I went there with Discovery to work with SNG to develop workshop classes for women and children. It was an unforgettable experience where I got to meet the most inspiring people, learn about a new culture and even visit the Victoria Falls!
Before volunteering, I never knew that there was a career path in the charity sector, but my time with Discovery was eye opening. From 2017 - 2018 I worked as their Finance Officer. The job was full of opportunities and challenges and gave me so many skills and practical experience that I draw upon in my current job. I also met many like-minded, wonderful people and I can say with certainty that I made life-long friends. There was never a day I didn’t look forward to working in the Discovery Office.
As a staff member, I could see that the volunteers really cared about what we were doing as a charity. This sense of shared purpose to help others further impassioned my work. This was significant to me, because up until that year, I thought I would just get a 9-5 job after university.
During my placement, Discovery secured some short-term shadowing placements where I got the opportunity to go to an accountancy firm and another charity in Swansea. This gave me really unique and interesting insights into the wider charity and finance sector.
After finishing university, I went straight into work in finance for a children's charity. I am so grateful I found out about Discovery because without them, I wouldn't be working in a job and sector that I am truly passionate about.
I nominated Discovery for a Navy Plaque because it will help make more students aware of them, enabling them to give back, gain skills, make friends and be inspired.