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Volunteering as a charity trustee to boost your career

I wholeheartedly agree with your article “Boost your pharmacy career by becoming a charity trustee” (Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;295:402) – volunteering is a good way for young pharmacists to develop their career as it will bring opportunities to interact with a range of skilled professionals and also to work on their managerial and organisational skills.

I am a retired pharmacist volunteering for an organisation called Reach Volunteering which supports people in finding fulfilling trustee positions in charities where their technical, managerial and operational skills can fill a gap in expertise for the charity concerned. Last year Reach placed over 300 trustees into charities. We work across England, Scotland and Wales and most of our services are free.

Reach is run with the support of more than 20 skilled volunteers, of whom I am one. My role in the Trustee Works team, in which I help to find people who might be suitable trustees, means I have seen many positions in charities which require an element of medical expertise or a health background. These charities may support those with a specific disease, with psychiatric needs, with the elderly or with young people.

People with a pharmaceutical background would be highly suitable for these positions. They have a number of transferable skills which charities would find desirable, as well as having a health background, skills such as being good communicators, creative thinkers and good team workers are invaluable. In return, young pharmacists can obtain managerial and governance experience through a position as a trustee, expanding skills and developing their career. Charities are happy to accommodate working volunteers with flexible meeting times and many employers offer some leave for an employee to volunteer.

There are other well known benefits of volunteering, too, such as extending one’s network, testing one’s skills in another environment, increased self-esteem and well-being, not to mention doing something to give back to the community.

Pharmacists can find a charity to match their interests and a role that will extend and add to their skills on our website at www.reachskills.org.uk. Those interested can register as a volunteer and do a search for a role that suits them. As someone who regularly volunteers, I would highly recommend it.

Carrol Cummins

Marlow

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201044

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