Introducing Bhavana

Posted on August 7, 2017

For some, a volunteer placement answering the phone might sound like a dream: an opportunity to chat all day! For others it might be your worst nightmare. Speaking to strangers? No. Thank. You.

For Bhavana it was just the ticket to give her the confidence she needed to start applying for jobs in Glasgow.

When Bhavana contacted ProjectScotland, she wanted a placement that would help improve her confidence and communication skills. She has a degree in Manual Testing* (yep, we weren’t sure what that was either!). She is also bilingual and English is her second language.

Bhavana & EmmaWe all have fears when it comes to applying for jobs. Whether that’s bigging ourselves up on an application form, talking to strangers on an interview panel or being asked a question you don’t know the answer to. Bhavana’s fear was that people wouldn’t understand her. So when she met with our friendly Youth Engagement Manager, Emma, they discussed possible placements to help her gain the skills and confidence she wanted. After contemplating the different options, Bhavana chose to volunteer at Citizens Advice Direct (CAD) as a General Telephone Advisor.

One comprehensive training programme later, Bhavana was up and running. With a whole wealth of knowledge at her fingertips she was able to provide support and advice to numerous people over the phone.

Bhavana explains “I was so nervous when I finished training but the staff at CAD were very supportive. Margaret sat with me for my first few live calls and there was always someone to help if I was unsure about anything.

I was most worried about not understanding what a caller asked me or them not understanding me. A member of staff reassured me that it is okay to ask the caller to repeat what they have said and I am now more confident to do this. I was also able to develop new skills in using the computer software programme.”

It takes some guts to go from being worried people won’t understand you to taking on a role answering phones and giving advice. It’s not for everyone. But it was for Bhavana and she was awesome at it!

Adding some icing to that cake

Photograph of a cakeAlongside Bhavana’s placement, she also received support from a mentor. Experience is fantastic but a dose of advice and a listening ear is the icing on the proverbial cake. Unsure on where to start looking for jobs, Bhavana’s mentor was able to give her practical advice and help her develop the all-important CV.

So, what are Bhavana’s final thoughts on her placement?

“I am very thankful for the support I have been given. Although I still find it hard to understand some accents (mainly Glaswegian!) I am more confident than I was before I started the placement and I feel ready to start applying for jobs. I am looking for an office/admin role and I feel more positive about my future.”

We’re pretty sure she’s not alone on understanding the Glaswegian accent!

Now, it’s your turn to make your mother proud…

mother proudWe all have worries or anxieties when it comes to applying for jobs. Whether it’s your confidence that needs working on or you’re looking for some relevant experience, ProjectScotland can help. And don’t worry, they don’t all involve answering the phone! In fact, from animals to admin, shopping to social media, caring to computing – we’ve got it covered.

Browse our volunteer opportunities in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, Aviemore and Dundee. If you can’t find something that takes your fancy, drop us a line and one of our team will see what we can do!

Phone lovers can contact us on 0131 281 7364 and phone haters can email us at volunteer@projectscotland.co.uk.

*Manual testing, in case you were also wondering, is the process of manually testing software for defects. It requires a tester to play the role of an end user to make sure everything is working as it should be.