Telephone Disruption: notice posted 22 March 2019
Into Work apologises for ongoing intermittent telephone disruption to our services. There is a major fault with telephone systems in the Norton Park building and this is completely beyond our control. We are assured it is being rectified as soon as possible.
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Jordan Payne explains how volunteering took him out of his comfort zone and gave him a confidence he didn’t know he had.
Picture this: A collective of five festivals where nearly three million tickets are sold in a relatively small town with a rich history and incredible culture all of which is held over the course of August. The town bustles with the additional quarter of a million to a half million people in form of tourists.
In my case, as with many who might read this, this isn’t the best time of year. Struggling with the daily routine the slightly inconvenience of what feels like an invasion on the city makes things a little worse. There happens to be a small addition of personal and medical issues that don’t really lend themselves to the cause either but I did something this year that nobody would think of me first in line to do. I recently found myself with the opportunity to be a volunteer in the Edinburgh Festival through Volunteer Edinburgh. Now this is fascinating for a lot of reasons. The most obvious being you have a chance to go explore town at a time of year filled with all kinds of activity and people to meet. However I find it more intriguing with what it does for you personally.
The main reason I did it was because I wanted to put myself in a situation where everything is the opposite of who I am just out of curiosity to see what happens. Nearly everyone I spoke to when on duty assumed, because you are out there, that you must have confidence and an ego to boot that is the size of the moon, where in reality I am quiet, lack anything really resembling confidence or an ego and I have great difficulty in social rapport and general human to human interactions.
I used that time to learn and understand. You would be surprised how much you can surprise yourself when you leave your boundaries in your home. After that first day there is a chance you will realise that you have a rare moment in life to try and improve that confidence or the small social queues that you may be missing. Some people appreciated my relaxed persona as it made them feel comfortable. But sometimes you come across those who are far too confident and as such you have to equal that to get them to listen. Just because I was trying new things I never lost myself in the process. If you enjoy working with new people and interacting with people from all around the world then this is an experience I would recommend. And if you are in the same category as me where things come harder to you than those around you, still give a go as at the very least you will be trying something different and as I have you might learn a couple of things about you that you weren’t already aware off.
The experience has given me a new interest to do and complete ideas for projects I have been working on for a little while. It gave me some confidence in my own abilities and at the very least I know that I can help most people with their inquiries. The last thing to say is don’t take anything that happens outside on duty personally. You don’t have to know everything and it’s OK to say you don’t know as I did many times.
The volunteering program is for everyone and throughout my time doing it I met so many different people all unique to their own being with their own stories to share that it made my uneasiness fade in place of a something that could resemble some confidence at the end of it.
Every year Edinburgh plays host to 11 major festivals. These provide great opportunities for the people we support to gain invaluable work and volunteering experience. In their own words, here are the stories of two people who we supported in volunteering placements at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).
I loved volunteering with the Edinburgh International Film Festival this summer. I found the staff there to be incredibly helpful. They made me feel very welcome in this new role. I had a great experience volunteering at the Press & Industry Centre, the major hub of the festival. My role was to greet famous guests, the press and delegates and make them feel welcome, check tickets and passes and to answer any questions they may have.
I started my application back in April with my Into Work adviser and within two weeks I was invited to their recruitment day at the Filmhouse. I had two interviews with them, you can either choose one role to interview for but I went for two. The first interview I spoke about why I had chosen to volunteer with the festival, what kind of customer experience I had from my previous jobs and what my favourite film is.
It’s not really an interview as such, it’s just to get to know you and what you can bring to the festival. I found out I got two places as a Press & Industry Centre Volunteer and another in Industry Events. I had an Induction day as well that showed me what it would be like to work with them and we got to see a movie that was premiering at the festival as well.
I was given a pass that allowed me to go and see movies for free and the ones at the press and industry screenings too, discounts to different bars and restaurants. The shifts are good as well and only cover about four hours and you get to work alongside learn from some amazing volunteers and staff.
I did manage to see a couple of films such as Anna & The Apocalypse, Hearts Beat Loud and The Incredibles 2. I also went to a different number of events such as How to Network at a Film Festival, the very competitive quiz and the In Person with Rob Brydon, I even managed to get his autograph which was so special.
The Festival is also a good starting point for anyone who wants to get into the Film Industry in general. I even got an interview with a different cinema just because of my experience alone with EIFF and it is also a great way to network with other talented people.
If I volunteer again in the future, I’m going to take time off job, so that I can get involved even more with the film festival, see more film screenings and premieres, take part in more events and gain even more incredibly experiences.
Aside from that fact working with the EIFF is one of best places to volunteer especially if you’re a film lover, I actually loved it so much that I’m now got memberships for both Cineworld and Filmhouse and I’m looking forward to new releases both mainstream and independent.
I also hope that I can also do it for EIFF 2019 and either work or volunteer with them in the near future.
My time volunteering at the Edinburgh Film Festival has been an all-round positive experience. As part of the Display Team I got the chance to meet new people, gain valuable work experience and to see parts of Edinburgh that I wouldn’t normally go. As well as visiting new places, I also found it really interesting seeing how events are organised from the point of view of the staff rather than the public. Everyone in the Display Team were all very friendly and easy to get along with and I would certainly do it again if I got the chance to.
Midlothian Advertiser published an excellent article about two our our ProjectSearch interns who have successfully gained employment through the course.
Two local young people have taken advantage of the Project SEARCH programme, which had previously only been open to Edinburgh.
Last year it was opened to all of Lothian, as well as the city. Megan McGraith (18) and Paul Clapperton (22) both took part in the 2017 – 2018 programme as the first Midlothian participants and have become the first from the county to get paid work from it.
Both were based at Western General Hospital and undertook three internships over the academic year; the idea being to try out different things each term. The goal – to be better skilled, familiar and confident enough to apply for and get a paid job when the year was up.
Megan from Loanhead, was advised to go to college after school and it was thought that mainstream paid employment may not be an option for her. Megan has autism and this affects how she interprets information – she may need instructions broken down.
Before Project SEARCH she gained qualifications at college which included work experience placements in retail. However, Megan was keen on the idea of working with children or adults and did really well in the caring internship roles she was placed on. She started by helping patients waiting to leave hospital and progressed to work in a specialist ward; working independently over time as her confidence grew.
With her natural ability to reassure patients and having become confident in delivering personal care, she was very highly thought of by her colleagues and managers.
Megan has since broken new ground to become the first ever Project SEARCH intern to apply and get a job as a clinical support worker. Megan said: “I’m so happy. I proved to people I could get the job I wanted and I’m now saving up for driving lessons.”
Paul is from Penicuik and has a learning disability which affects how he understands and processes information and he can sometimes find visual information confusing.
However, this has not stopped Paul from progressing. Before project SEARCH he started with temporary catering work in care homes after doing a college course. However, when this work ended he struggled to find a job by himself. He did keep busy though, volunteering in charity shops but he needed help to get a permanent job.
Paul had the opportunity with Project SEARCH to try administration work, which he really wanted to do. His internships involved reception; dealing with patients and visitors as well as background admin work. He had shown in the training room that he had some IT ability on which to build experience.
His subsequent internship review reports were glowing and he was actively encouraged by his NHS managers to apply when vacancies came up. Paul has recently started his career in admin – with a position in clinical oncology after interviewing for four NHS jobs in total.
Paul said: “I always wanted to work with computers but I never thought it would happen. It’s my dream job. I couldn’t have done it without Project SEARCH.”