It’s the end of VPA as we know it…

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Our fantastic team of graduate volunteers have now finished their placements so I’m taking this opportunity to say a massive thank you so much for all the hard work you put into your projects here at Groundwork!

Also an update on the Volunteer Project Assistant Programme – as you may know the programme was funded through Hopwood Hall College via the ASDAN Community Volunteering Level 3 qualification. This funding is no longer available so the programme as we know it will no longer be running. We are looking for further funding and still hoping to offer some graduate volunteer placements within the Trust. I want to thank all the VPA’s who I have had the pleasure of working with and have dedicated their time and effort to supporting the work of Groundwork over the past few years. It has been great to meet so many passionate and motivated graduate volunteers and see them gain valuable experience on the VPA programme. Very best wishes for the future!

I will now be moving on to deliver the Jubilee Archaeology project ‘Preserving the Past’ at Groundwork. There are a number of exciting volunteer opportunities available on this project – ideal for recent graduates, adults and young people alike. You can read more about this project over on the Jubilee blog.

For now thank you to all our readers and everyone who has supported the VPA programme over the past few years!

Jo

New team 2014

Hi I’m Mike Warren and I’m currently on the VPA team as the Media and Communications Project Assistant.

During the first week we were introduced to each other through teambuilding workshops involving many Ice breaker games and activities. We were later given workshops on Business Development, Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities, Bid Writing/Fundraising, Finance, I.T, and Safeguarding.

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The wobbly stick game – blurry action shot!

Everybody is extremely friendly / welcoming and the overall atmosphere of our time here so far has been outstanding!

New VPA Placements in 2014

Kick start your career in 2014! If you’re an unemployed graduate aged 19-23 and keen to break the cycle of no experience=no work=no experience, join the VPA programme to gain valuable experience to add to your CV. As a Volunteer Project Assistant (VPA) you will gain real project management experience to help you secure employment in your chosen profession. Not only that, you will gain training, network with fellow graduates and work on projects that will benefit communities in Greater Manchester.

 

Practical Countryside Skills Project Assistant – Your role will be to support both the team leaders as well as the team members in the running, guidance and teaching of the Level 1 Certificate in Practical Countryside Skills course. During the placement you will take part in practical tasks on various nature sites around Oldham and Rochdale.

Business Services Project Assistant – Working on the Big Energy Saving Network project you will encourage, teach and engage a number of people through community outreach sessions. Topics will include assisting residents with learning how to read their energy bills and looking at ways of changing their tariff. You will also contribute feedback to the Department of Energy and Climate Change on how the process and project is going. The placement will also involve delivering face to face energy efficiency advice to residents.

Media and Communications Project Assistant – You will assist the Marketing and Communications Manager in promoting Groundwork’s volunteering programmes along with the other projects that the Trust is involved with. You will also co-ordinate the VPA blog and social media pages to encourage potential future volunteers to get involved in the scheme.

Prince’s Trust Project Assistant – Working with a range of Prince’s Trust teams you will support both the team leaders and team members involved with the 12 week personal development programme. The placement will involve supporting learners to complete the qualification as well as acting as a positive and inspirational role model. You will also take part in supporting the team leader to plan and assist with the running of the 12 week programme, planning community based projects, work placement weeks and recruiting members onto the teams.

Bulky Bob’s Project Assistant – Bulky Bob’s is a social enterprise who sells un-wanted furniture to people in need at a very low cost. Your role will be to help Bulky Bob’s with supporting customers, retail sales, marketing through social media, arranging deliveries and working with crisis referral customers.

Community Action Team Project Assistant – You will assist with the recruitment and delivery of a Digital Inclusion project, supporting the delivery of the Level 1 Community Volunteering Qualification and aiding learners with developing their IT and computer skills. The project will also include the delivery and planning of a number of digital inclusion events.

Oldham Boxing Project Assistant –  Roles at Oldham Boxing Club will include assisting with the personal development accredited course that is based at the centre as well as working towards the development of a café for both users of the gym and walk-in customers.

Bid Writing Project Assistant – You will work alongside the bid writing Business Development Manager and assist with the development and writing of funding bids and applications.

Employability / Classroom assistant Project Assistant – Your role will involve working with and assisting learners with accredited learning sessions specifically focusing around employability. You will also be encouraged to develop innovative, fun and interactive resources for the programme.

The VPA programme runs for 12 weeks, 5 days a week and is usually full-time. The next VPA placements start on Monday 20th January 2014 and the deadline for applications is Friday 10th January 2014.

 

To apply please download the VPA Application Form – Jan14, complete the form and return it to VPA Programme, Groundwork, Environment Centre, Shaw Road, Higginshaw, Oldham, OL1 4AW or email to: joanna.fullman@groundwork.org.uk

Volunteers having fun

Bulky Bobs Oldham VPA Placement

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Hello, Jo here, one of the VPA team leaders. I’ve had a nice afternoon visiting Aissata on her Volunteer Project Assistant placement at Bulky Bobs in Oldham. Bulky Bobs are an award winning business who re-use, recycle and refurbish old furniture to divert it from landfill. They collect unwanted household goods on behalf of the council and this furniture is then made available to families or individuals on low income.
Throughout the VPA’s placements I meet with all the team members individually to ensure they are working towards their goals and gaining valuable experience on the team.
Aissata’s responsibilities as a volunteer are to greet customers and show them around the warehouse so they can choose new furniture, to process the enquiries from people wanting their old items collected, to keep the database up to date and to keep an accurate record of what is currently in stock. Aissata has also been given responsibility for contacting new customers over the phone.
Aissata has been really enjoying the placement and is clearly a valued member of the team. Thanks to Bulky Bobs Oldham for providing an excellent placement! If you would like to find out more about Bulky Bobs please click here for a link to the website.
Jo

Welcome June VPAs!

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A warm welcome to our latest recruits who started on Monday 3rd June! So far our new team have been learning about Groundwork, the important policies and procedures they will need to know, playing team building games including ‘zombie chair game’ and the conservation group even went on a 2 night residential with PPCV – phew! More on this in a post soon to come.
If you check the ‘Current VPA profiles’ tab you can hear from the latest team what they hope to gain from the programme. We will also be tweeting our adventures @GwOR_VPA
Really looking forward to an action packed 12 weeks with you all!

Jo

VPA Placements starting in June 2013

Our summer 2013 placements will start on Monday 3rd June and run until Friday 23rd August. We’re delighted with the range and variety of graduate placements we can offer – some real hands-on projects that will make a difference to your CV and to the communities of Oldham and Rochdale! Interest has already been high but we have 20 places on offer so if you’re interested or want to apply do get in touch (my details are at the bottom of this page).

VPA placements

Practical Countryside Skills Assistant Team Leader – You will assist volunteers participating on the Practical Countryside Skills Course with practical tasks and work towards their portfolio so they can complete their Level 1 certificate. Duties will include supporting the project leader in the delivery of sessions throughout the course, mentoring the volunteers participating on the course, assisting in participants work on various conservation topics. A large part of the course in maintaining and improving natural spaces so you will help in the supervision of practical projects and ensure they are completed satisfactorily and safely.

Education & Communities Project Assistant (Q Gardens) – This new project will establish a community food growing site in Kirkholt, Rochdale in partnership with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing. We are looking for a small team of volunteers to plan and organise a series of community engagement events and workshops all focused around food growing, plot maintenance and healthy eating. You will also assist with setting up similar gardens in other areas of Rochdale and assist tenants to create site management plans.

Community Project Assistant (Reservoir Trails) – You will lead on a project to organise a number of guided walks for the local community. This placement will provide you with experience of community engagement, project planning, organising and delivering events. You will be required to design, promote and deliver a variety of walks and events to inspire the local community to enjoy local green spaces.

Education & Communities Project Assistant (Community Action Team) – You will help to lead a team of adults working on inspiring outdoor growing projects in Oldham. As part of your placement you will gain some experience in community engagement, volunteer coordination, recruiting volunteers and inducting them. The main focus is on leading volunteers in a variety of workshops alongside the team leader so you will gain experience on a community run growing project.

Prince’s Trust Assistant Team Leader – The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 13 week personal development programme for 16 – 25 year olds. You will work with the Prince’s Trust Manager and Senior Team leader to gain a wide range of experience of youth work. The role will involve attending a week long residential with a Prince’s Trust Team, assisting the young people to organise fundraisers and community projects, and providing a range of learning support and tuition.

Employability Classroom Assistant – Are you looking for a career in adult learning, social support, employment or keen to help people? As part of our Work Programme contract in Middleton you will work alongside course leaders to deliver the Employability Skills qualification to unemployed adults. You will gain experience of teaching adults, developing interactive resources and support the smooth running of this course.

Land & Design Project Assistant (Bid Writing and Fundraising) – You will assist the Contracts Manager with bid writing to secure funds for the improvement of Groundwork managed nature sites in Oldham and Rochdale. This will involve helping with the creation of habitat management plans and to support the implementation of practical projects. You will gain experience of bid writing, funding, conservation management as well as physical improvement projects on the ground.

Business Services Project Assistant – You will assist the Business Services team with the delivery of energy efficiency programmes to homes and businesses. You will gain experience of delivering energy advice to householders on how to save money on their energy bills. You will also support small to medium sized businesses with the implementation of environmental management systems.

Marketing & Communications Project Assistant – You will support the marketing and communications of Groundwork projects, primarily through video capture and production. As part of this placement you will also gain experience of social media and help to write and coordinate blog posts aimed at different audiences. Prior training and/or experience in video production or media is required for this placement.

Oldham Evening Chronicle Project Assistant (All That Magazine) – You will co-ordinate and manage the development of a magazine written for and by young people from Oldham. Working with young people through focus groups, you will discover what they want to read about and deliver workshops to encourage them to write up articles for the forthcoming edition. There will be opportunities for you write articles for both All That magazine and the Oldham Evening Chronicle, gaining valuable experience of print media, work with young people, schools and colleges, and social media.

Oldham Council Project Assistant – You will be placed in areas of Oldham Council to support the Community Development workers in three different areas of Oldham. You will work alongside the Community Development staff to deliver a number of projects including work around anti-social behaviour, promoting adult learning and community engagement. The Council placements may lead to further voluntary shadowing within the Council dependent on the experience you gain.

Bulky Bob’s Project Assistant – Bulky Bob’s are an award-winning business who aim to re-use, recycle and refurbish at least 25% by tonnage of the items they collect. Thousands of items of furniture picked up by Bulky Bob’s crews are made available to families on low income. You will support and greet customers, provide retail sales, marketing through social media, attend events and develop other sustainable reuse and recycling activities.

If you would like more information on any of these placements or would like to apply contact Gemma Russell; gemma.russell@groundwork.org.uk or call 0161 624 1444.