I started volunteering with The Access Project in 2014. Prior to that I had attended a few school fairs to talk about careers in STEM, but I was looking to do something on a more regular and less intense basis. I heard about the Access Project and I felt regular tutoring with the same student could allow me to have a tangible impact on their life. The experience was also more suited to my skills.
When I was at school, there were many occasions when I needed a bit of one to one support in order for me to ask questions or for someone to explain a concept to me; I was quite lucky that this was usually readily available from teachers. When I heard about The Access Project, it made me release that not everyone is as fortunate as I was and that I could make a real contribution to someone’s education.
My experience tutoring with the Access Project was great. It was interesting revisiting A-level Chemistry after studying Chemistry at University, but not using it much in my day to day job. It was encouraging to see my tutee really enthusiastic to learn and to watch her progress over the academic year. I initially thought volunteering might be a big commitment, but my tutee came to my office building, so it was only an hour a week plus a bit of time in advance to plan a session. This really wasn’t a huge amount of time – plus it actually turned out to be a welcome break in my working day!
I was so pleased when she decided to apply for a Chemical Engineering Degree and got accepted! She kept in touch and let me know she had achieved the grades required to gain a place at university and gave me regular updates on how she was finding university life.
I stopped tutoring after that year as I was changing jobs and felt I needed a bit of time to settle in. Volunteering crossed my mind now and again, but I never followed it up. Recently, my old tutee got in touch to let me know she had graduated from university and also that she had applied and been offered a job at the company I worked at whilst tutoring her!
This inspired me to sign back up and I look forward to tutoring in the new academic year!