Working for OXFAM
Oxfam is an organisation that works in conjunction with others to overcome suffering and poverty around the world. It prides itself on bringing all of its staff and volunteers together working towards a common goal of having a positive impact on people’s lives no matter in what capacity you choose to serve as a volunteer.
The Oxfam ShopThis form of voluntary work for Oxfam is probably the one which we are all most familiar with. Oxfam has over 700 shops throughout the UK and, like any other shop, it takes skilled and highly motivated staff to run them profitably. However, it often takes more skill to work in an Oxfam shop than it would to work in a traditional High Street store. This is because, unlike a normal High Street store where you would become very familiar with the goods you are selling, an Oxfam shop relies heavily on items that have been generously donated by the public. Therefore, whilst it does produce items of its own to sell such as cards, food and gifts, most of its stock comes from donations so you’ll never be sure just exactly what is out on the shop floor on any given day, how much it’s going to be priced at and you may even unearth some collectibles so it can often be very interesting and challenging.
Oxfam OfficesFor those who would prefer to work in an office environment as opposed to helping out in one of the shops, there are regional offices in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Newcastle as well as its head office which is located in Oxford. There is always an ongoing requirement for volunteers in all the different divisions within Oxfam. Sometimes the role may require a particular specialist skill, whilst others only require a willingness to learn and bags of enthusiasm. The roles also vary in terms of the amount of commitment you’ll need to be able to put in, in terms of time. Some roles will be full-time over a period of several months and others will be part-time spanning a shorter period.
Types of ProjectsYou might get involved in one of the following types of project depending on both your skills and experience and what you’re interested in:
- Designing intranet sites
- Organising events
- Working in human resources
- Finding work placements for students and graduates
- Fund raising
- Auditing shops
- Assessing how well Oxfam engages with people and how it can improve its communication and marketing strategies
- Providing supporters with more information about the organisation
There are also both short and long-term internships giving you the opportunity to gain either some much needed work experience or for the purpose of fulfilling a gap year, a sandwich placement, or post-graduate work experience.
Whichever way you choose to get involved, Oxfam will recognise your contribution and commitment and will help you with training and development in your role as well as providing a safe environment in which to work, any travel expenses you might incur and it will also encourage you to share your views and suggestions about how it can improve its work. All in all, it will be an experience which should be mutually beneficial to you and Oxfam as well as you gaining satisfaction in knowing that you’ll be making a difference in the lives of poor people around the world.