Why education and volunteering matter This blog post has been written by one our Tutors, Mandy Gutsell I have been a tutor at Fircroft College delivering on the Personal Social Development and Skills for Volunteering into Work for about 8 years now. The Skills for Volunteering into Work are particularly useful for those working towards becoming support workers and those looking to enter the jobs market. I have also noticed the courses attract those who are already in support roles and see the value of being upskilled in the latest knowledge and practise. I am very passionate about the courses we offer and love to see the energy and learning that is created with the learners. I have delivered on nearly all of the courses over time but at present particularly teach Mental Health Awareness, Coaching, Mentoring and Supporting with Bereavement and Loss. Dimensions of Abuse will also be added for the next academic year. I think one of the reasons why I love delivering these particular courses is it beings together a lot of my own work experience and qualifications. I have an extensive background in Mental Health and Coaching. I have volunteered in many roles including Local Mind, Mary Stevens Hospice, Coaching groups, Youth Groups and continue to connect with my Local Community. I also have my own Business that I have run for about the last 20 years so am able to bring a lot of skills, experience and knowledge to the courses I have witnessed some amazing learners develop in their own skills, confidence and belief. One learner on the mentoring course gained the confidence to move from an administration role in a school to Mentoring the Children. She found this very rewarding and also being acknowledged for something she did so naturally. I recall another learner who had attended a number of courses on the Skills for Volunteering into Work. They had been asked on a number of occasions to apply for a role in the Local Mental Health Trust. This person had progressed massively on a number of courses but still did not quite have the belief others showed in her. Finally she attended the Bereavement and Loss course and realised what she needed to let go of and what had been holding her back. It was a wonderful moment to see her so confident in sharing with the class she was contacting the Trust to finally say YES to the volunteer role. I also recall a learner on the Coaching Course leaving really excited to be applying the skills gained to help others in Recovery look at their goals, vision, aspirations and potential. Another learner had attended the Mentoring, Mental Health Awareness and supporting with Bereavement and Loss courses. After completing the Coaching course they took the plunge to set up their own business supporting vulnerable adults. I love the variety of courses on offer, the range of skills they cover and the privilege in meeting the learners who engage with the courses. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion theme for June is Volunteering and Skills for the Workplace, if you'd like to find out more about how you can up-skill, click here.