I thought I would share with you my other passion in life….
As well as an L&D Manager I also spend a great deal of time volunteering for a First Aid organisation in Scotland, which demand very similar roles in two very different environments – My training, education and development for these two roles took very distinctive paths but sometimes these paths inevitably cross!
Whilst wearing either hat I have a responsibility to a team. I organise and manage resource, I’m accountable for what happens on my ‘watch’ and I provide personal and professional on-going support. Here is where the similarities end!
Within the workplace each employee has a contractual obligation to fulfil their duties, however in the volunteer sector there is no financial or material incentive for people to give up their time. Voluntary organisations rely on the dedication of their members to enable them to complete their public obligations.
Over the twelve month period from April 2011 to March 2012, I alone pledged 615 hours to public duty – but it’s not all about Band Aid’s and blood! From October to March I attended a local Girls’ Brigade company to provide all the girls with basic life-saving skills. This was a particularly rewarding experience as I was able to see the enthusiasm and vigour with which the girls got involved and not forgetting the end result – my local community now has another 40+ potential lifesavers.
During the last year I was also successfully awarded a prestigious placement on the St Andrew’s First Aid Leadership course, which saw 16 of just over 1500 volunteers go through a very taxing, yet rewarding plan of five – 2 day developmental sessions looking at areas such as leadership and coaching, motivational understanding and self-belief modules amongst other areas. Although very in-depth, the Leadership course, coupled with the ILM course provided by my employer, M2, was a valuable journey to be on and has made me look at many things differently regarding both business and personal aspects of my life.
One of my proudest moments since joining the organisation was to receive an email from our National Headquarters asking would I, along with another member like to represent the organisation at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November last year. I saw this as a great honour to be afforded this opportunity to mark something so moving and to do so whilst supporting such a worthwhile organisation that is St Andrew’s. So on Friday November 9th we headed down to London, spent the day with many others like us in the care of a Drill Sergeant and learnt how to march in front of many dignataries and of the course HRH The Queen, something I have not done before and was very much a task in itself. It is something that I will hold very dear to my heart for many years to come, a proud and pleasant opportunity indeed!
St Andrew’s First Aid supports a wide spectrum of events throughout the country including football matches, concert venues, charity cycles and swims, fetes and festivals. Of course, to enable us to provide comprehensive cover we require the correct equipment and the purchase and maintenance of such in turn has substantial costs attached.
As a charity, St Andrew’s rely heavily on public donations and organised charity events and collections to finance equipment and supplies. The company I volunteer for, Inverclyde, has spent the past 2 years fund raising towards a new MFAP (Mobile First Aid Post), to allow us to support events in the community. To date, through various collection days and charity evenings we have managed the required £32000 so our order will be going in soon. What was our response to this achievement? – “Let’s make it two so we can support a National Support for central resource!” So, needless to say we have now embarked on raising another £32000 for a second vehicle.
My passion for L&D and for volunteering as a First Aider are both on par and give me equal amounts of pleasure and personal return but in totally different ways.