Today I get to work at 8:25am, thankfully I have my own key so I don’t have to wait outside in the cold! There’s a guy on work placement waiting so I let him in and make us a cup of tea while we wait for the other volunteers, work placements and project coordinators to arrive.
Once everyone’s arrived and I’ve made them a cup of tea of coffee (yes, one of my jobs is tea girl!) we get started with the day.
To begin with I finish up things I have left from the previous day or week. Today this included making a sign-in place for a new guy on work placement and putting name labels on people’s individual boxes for their gloves.
Now, for the days tasks. I write up the previous days collection requests and check for more from today, I’ll be checking this throughout the day to make sure we stay on top of things! I also make some calls. One to the main office in Stramongate, ordering some more stationary and one to SLDC to check on an address for a collection request.
I then head out to the warehouse to clean some of the items we’ve collected that we can resell. One of the volunteers realises that the hoover needs emptying and this takes about half an hour to do! Some customers then come in and I see to their needs.
I then start writing up bits and pieces the project manager has asked me to do, whilst keep an ear out for any customers that are coming in. Basically this means I’m running up and down the stairs juggling customers and remembering where I am with my list of jobs I have for today! Phew!
By now it’s lunch time and if the van is back from collections we all sit and have lunch together, it’s always an amusing experience as one of the project coordinators has a fascination with the Romans which he seems to think we all share!
After lunch I carry on with the tasks I’ve been set. One of these includes finding a container to put the new guy on work placement’s gloves in, this turns out to be one of the boxes from the fridges we recycle! It makes for a rather smelly job which kindly someone does for me! I take some calls and do some housekeeping jobs like emptying bins, washing up, generally keep the office clean and tidy. Plus there’s a tea break half way through the afternoon so I make the guys teas and coffees. After some more odd jobs I make a quick plan of what I’m going to do tomorrow and finish around 3pm for the day.
I’m finding my experience at right2work mostly enjoyable, it is hard work! To begin with I was the only lady among a group of guys and as a person with a quiet and sometimes shy personality it was a big step to be talking and working with a group of men, most of them the same age as my parents! I’ve experienced a couple of problems but the support network at right2work is extremely good and these issues have been solved with little or no fuss and the outcomes have been better than I’d have imagined. I’ve also built upon the skills I already have and learnt new ones, as well as building up my self-esteem and my confidence, a really good thing about right2work is that from one job you can learn skills in at least three different areas; office work, retail and recycling. Most importantly, as a volunteer I really feel valued at right2work, as time has gone on I’ve been entrusted with bigger and more important tasks. I do have regular informal chats to see how I’m getting on but for me it’s the things that aren’t said, how I’m treated and what I’m trusted with that mean the most to me.
Overall my experience has been challenging but really enjoyable. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions and got great results from doing so!