It's National Volunteers Week! Erin Fulton, RSPB Scotland Publications & Media Intern, tells us what it's like to volunteer in our Edinburgh office.
An ideal bridge
I started at RSPB Scotland as their publications and media intern in April 2012. I was finishing my degree in Environmental Science and Film and Media when I came across the internship opportunity on environmentjob.co.uk and saw it as the ideal bridge between leaving university and entering the world of work.
I also saw that giving my time to the RSPB would be a brilliant way to support the important work that the organisation does to protect the environment. From dolphin watching in the Moray Firth to seeing badgers frolicking in Muiravonside, I have grown up enjoying natural environments and want others to be able to share these experiences. Being publications and media intern would mean that I could share this enthusiasm and concern for nature and wildlife.
And here I am now. I am in the office two days a week and work with communication channels between the three departments of Youth and Education, Volunteering and Media and Communications. I have worked on a variety of different projects some more familiar to me than others. I have helped Elana from Youth and Education, to develop the RSPB pages for the Scottish schools Intranet, Glow. It has been difficult at times, as Glow is a format I was not previously familiar with so progress has been slow. However, it has meant that I have learned new skills on the job and very soon, Youth and Education should have a Glow account through which teachers and pupils can learn more about the RSPB’s work and how they can get involved.
I have also helped Jen from Volunteering put together the latest edition of the Scottish volunteering newsletter – Involve. I enjoyed the process of tracking down articles and gradually developing the format of the newsletter so, eventually, it looked like a proper publication.
In addition to learning new skills with the above and other ongoing tasks, it has been insightful to see how a large organisation such as the RSPB works in order to effectively achieve their aims.
One of the most positive aspects of volunteering for RSPB Scotland in this capacity is that it has been a two-way relationship. While I feel that I have developed many useful skills, I also feel like I have been helpful to the departments I have been working with. It is these aspects that have made volunteering with the RSPB a very fulfilling work experience.
Once I have finished the internship, I hope to be looking for jobs in public relations or similar as I have enjoyed the work that I have done for the RSPB and think that I have learned skills that I could apply in this area of work.
Meanwhile, I would recommend these internship opportunities with the RSPB to anyone who wants to develop potential workplace skills or even just feels like they have something useful to offer the organisation.