Duration of voluntary/honorary posts

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Guest23
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Duration of voluntary/honorary posts

Post by Guest23 » Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:06 am

Voluntary posts are just that - voluntary. They are not a necessary precursor to paid work or AP posts. However, some people believe that the experience of a post working directly with a clinical psychologist can be so beneficial to their personal and professional development that they are worth doing even if they are not paid. It is important however, to make an arrangement that is mutually beneficial to both the supervising CP and the volunteer, so be explicit about what you will be doing, for how many hours a week, and for how many weeks. Think about whether there will be formal supervision (there should be) and chances to see what the CP and others in the service do day to day. Think about if you could get involved in research or audit. Could you attend any internal training events, etc. Don't forget to do your sums and work out how you are going to make ends meet financially during this time, and don't forget that home to base mileage is never paid.

I would like to know how long will I have to work on a voluntary basis to get relevant work experience, which will count for potential employers.

There's probably no fixed answer to that – if it’s relevant, it counts. Depending on your contract/arrangement you could for example supplement your honorary post (if it’s at all practical) with say support work with an agency while continuing to apply for paid (AP) positions - It's always worth continuing to strengthen your CV, and to learn as much as possible from your honorary post; take advantage of any training that is offered etc and perhaps consider doing a course alongside…

I also wanted to know whether I should work in a place for some time or try to get experience in various settings.

Again, there isn’t a fixed rule, but very generally if you’ve spent over 12 months in one area, would recommend thinking about finding something new… If you have time on your hands/ the inclination/circumstances allow, why not use it – you could find an opportunity say for some research experience or something else…

Luckily I have got an honorary post, but I am confused about how long I should commit myself. I know that it is difficult to get even an honorary post.

Most people who offer honorary positions would probably be well aware of your predicament and will expect you at some point to take up paid work should the opportunity arise – be committed while you’re there, keep your supervisor in the loop, honour any promises you make, and aim to leave with a great reference…

Related: viewtopic.php?t=12

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A personal anecdote:

Last year, I applied for an AP post, but did not get it. However, I was offered a volunteer post and accepted it. I did my best in that post and worked very hard, even though was only one full day a week. I did the same quality work as a full-time paid AP, and had training in assessment tools, such as BADS, WAIS-III, CAMDEX, etc. I involved myself in research and I created a database for the services, to store clients psychological data and information.

Last week I went for an interview, and because of the experience I gained in the volunteer post I then got an AP position.

As said in various threads of this forum, volunteer positions do not automatically guarantee paid jobs, but they help if:

1- you use the volunteer position to get appropriate experience
2 - you show the same enthusiasm as if you were getting paid
3 - you demonstrate interest in learning
4 - you remember to use evidence from your volunteer job in your next paid application process.


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