12 July 2016

From volunteer to career

18-year-old Phoebe Jones has just embarked on the first rung of her chosen careerPheobe Jones ladder and she credits her new-found confidence to a part-time volunteer role with Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

Phoebe, from High Wycombe, is now working full-time as a fitness instructor at her local gym.  It’s part of her career plan to become a personal trainer.  Prior to this, throughout her GCSE exams and her A Level studies, she volunteered on a Monday afternoon at Rennie Grove’s charity shop in Bourne End.

“I did my final shift last week,” says Phoebe “and I really didn’t want to leave!  It was such a friendly team and I really enjoyed my 2 ½ years there.”

Phoebe first started volunteering alongside her GCSE revision.  “I was stuck at home revising and bored of doing nothing but revising, so I thought I would give it a go. It would get me out and it would look good on my CV!  It was a big thing for me, approaching the charity.  I wasn’t a hugely confident person but the role definitely gave me more confidence.  As well as sorting through donations in the back room, pricing items and re-stocking shelves and rails on the shop floor, I would help out on the till if we were short-staffed and help customers find what they were looking for.  I think having a customer-facing role like that has been crucial in my bid to become a personal trainer and has helped me land other paid jobs like bar work and even the fitness instructor role I’m doing now.”

The shop is only five minutes walk from Phoebe’s school, and its location in the middle of Bourne End means it offers a busy, thriving atmosphere in which to volunteer.  “I definitely recommend it to other pupils,” says Phoebe.  “You learn so much from your colleagues because they’re all different ages and the work itself is really varied and interesting.  It could be ideal if you’re doing Duke of Edinburgh or if, like me, you just need a productive break from revision!”

To find out more about volunteering with Rennie Grove, visit www.renniegrove.org/volunteer/volunteer