Thomas Read is a volunteer with Scope’s Employment Service. He also works as a freelance broadcast journalist.
Having recently left university, volunteering seemed like an ideal way to build up my employability with a view to securing a paid job in future.
Having a form of cerebral palsy, I was already familiar with Scope’s work. So when I saw a voluntary research role advertised on the charity’s website, I knew I wanted to apply.
I was invited to interview and the rest, as they say, is history.
I currently spend one day a week at Scope’s London headquarters researching graduate schemes available to young disabled people, and finding out how inclusive they are. It has become clear that this is no small task!
I hope to hear from businesses in a range of sectors and from disabled graduates on their experiences – what was good and bad about the graduate schemes, and how they could be improved.
I have found the project really interesting, and it has given me an invaluable opportunity to develop my research skills.
It has also let me pursue other opportunities that would not have come my way – including taking part in a panel on behalf of Scope at a youth employment conference.
Expect the unexpected
Whilst preparing for the conference I was reminded to expect the unexpected when a fire alarm interrupted a conference call the week before the panel.
The untimely drill and evacuation of the building meant that I didn’t get to hear much of the half-hour conversation!
The panel discussed a range of issues. By the end I think we were able to make the audience aware of some of the major problems facing young people today, and suggest some solutions.
Overall, I have found my time volunteering with Scope rewarding. I hope to carry on doing so.