Thanks to volunteering I am happy to be looking forward to the future

Posted on June 1, 2020

“Due to my social anxiety I expected to find it difficult to talk to customers but the experience has helped me to gain confidence speaking to people.” 

Cal Watt is telling us about his first time volunteering through ProjectScotland. Cal Is 25 years old and has only positive things to say about his experience, describing how his placement and the support he received from Youth Engagement Manager Lisa Laidlaw and his Mentor Erika helped him gain in confidence and feel happier in himself.

“I have a good future ahead of me” – Cal Watt

I heard about ProjectScotland through my worker Jackie at The Wise Group. I wanted to volunteer to gain experience and learn more about retail work. My placement with the British Red Cross was arranged by Lisa Laidlaw, who was very patient with me.

Lisa and I worked well together on building a suitable CV, and job searching. She took time to get to know me and supported me in many ways including my mental health issues. Through volunteering at the British Red Cross, alongside my Manager Sharon they both helped me build up my confidence.

It has been a pleasure to watch Cal grow into the man he has always wanted to be and I could not be more proud of the work he has put in to change people’s opinions and outlook on transgender challenges.

Youth Engagement Manager, Lisa Laidlaw

The process of applying to ProjectScotland and completing my placement was very quick and satisfactory for me.  My placement was at the British Red Cross Perth Road, where I held the role of Volunteer Sales Assistant, which involved:

  • Dealing with customers queries
  • Organising the front of the shop – everything from clothes to DVDs and toys
  • Serving customers
  • Receiving donations and asking about gift aid

Learning how to deal with the public in a calm manor was the most helpful part of my placement.

Cal also benefitted from the support of a ProjectScotland Mentor, so what was that like?

Her name was Erika.  Erika and I got on very well, she was very supportive and also helped me with CV work and job applications. Meeting with Erika made me come out of my shell which helped me cope with my mental health issues.

If you are considering volunteering go for it – gain experience and confidence which may lead to a job!

Through my time at ProjectScotland they got me an interview with the Chicken Factory in Coupar Angus. I started working as a Process Operative in November 2019  and progressed to QC within 3 months. I am now in full-time employment; my role is a Quality Control – Temperature Monitor. The role includes taking temperatures around the factory and reporting any faults to the engineers.  

I have made many new friends, I work well with people from different backgrounds and have been fully accepted as a transgender man and this makes me feel happy and confident in myself.

I am happy to be looking forward to the future.