Are you a Psychology student who is aiming to become a Psychologist, Graduate Mental Health Worker, Social Worker or another professional role needing knowledge of mental health issues? Then you need to build relevant work experience into your CV whilst at City. Graduating without any relevant experience will mean you will have to volunteer after graduation to gain work experience, when you could be entering paid employment if you had gained experience beforehand. If you are planning to take a Psychology Masters, be aware that only a fifth of applicants are successful in winning a place on a course. So demonstrating your interest and commitment through work experience could help you to stand out against the competition.
When to start though? First year is ideal, as it will leave you time to take on a variety of roles, which will add depth to your CV, but if you are a second or third year, it is never too late to start.
Volunteering is the main way to get experience of working with people who have mental health issues and a huge range of opportunities exist. You might like to support a person in Islington as part of Mind’s new empowerment programme and work over an 8 week period on a one to one basis with someone who has mental health issues. Or you might like to help staff a mental health helpline, take an autistic child out to a social activity each week, whilst offering a welcome break for their carer or to mentor a young person or adult with a learning disability or who has been in trouble with the law. The experience will develop your communication skills – such as building rapport with clients and active listening, as well as your knowledge of mental health conditions and learning disabilities and the challenges they bring.
Take any volunteering application seriously. Spend time on it. Many organisations offer valuable training and are sought after, so high quality applications are expected.
To find out more about opportunities for Psychology students, book a 20 minute appointment on our website with a careers consultant or a longer appointment if you want to discuss this as part of career planning in general.
Some opportunities can be found on City’s Community Volunteering website, including the latest opportunity with Islington Mind. You could also search for opportunities at Do-it, the national volunteering website.