From Policing to Volunteering

From Policing to Volunteering

Readers will recall that Darren Oxbrow was a previous guest writer in his capacity as a Sergeant in the Suffolk Constabulary, heading up the C & YP and Schools Engagement team.  Having recently taken the option of retirement from the Force, Darren explains what life holds for him now.

volunteering matters

It’s been a strange couple of months as I adjust to life outside Suffolk Constabulary. Having completed 24 years it was always going to be a sad occasion to say goodbye to so many good people who I have worked with during my service. 

But with this change comes new challenges and an opportunity for me to work in a different environment. I must confess that I did have some concerns and worries as to what I was going to do. Being in the job market again is a little unsettling, searching for a job which you hope can provide you with the continued stimulation, enthusiasm and passion that you previously had.

This change in circumstance has allowed me to sample the world of the job market again, it was scary even for someone like me, so I can’t imagine how it feels for a young person to go through this process for the first time.

The first objective is to find a job that appears to fit with your requirements and offers you those core values of enjoyment and love for what you are doing. It can’t be great if you are doing a job that you don’t enjoy or love. 

So the first step was to find a job that appeared to fit my skills and ability but was also suited to my needs in respect to job satisfaction. I wanted to remain working with young people and to continue to offer young people opportunities to reach their potential, so I had some idea of the environment I wanted to work in. 

I considered the school environment and also youth services, but was fortunate enough to see and apply for a job at Volunteering Matters as a Volunteer manager for youth social action, something I will explain in more detail over the coming months.

This post appeared to tick all my boxes, so I proceeded and requested an application pack.

This is where things became challenging, the application process, filling in the application, there was so much information required. Personal details, previous employment, education and exam results, plus numerous questions about my ability to deal with challenging issues and situations, examples of working with young people and so forth. I had to also include a CV, I didn’t have one so had to create a new one.

Once happy with the content of my application it was then returned to Volunteering Matters. You then spend the next few days in anticipation awaiting a reply, have you got an interview or not!

I received an email a few days later stating I had been offered an interview, it was great news, but this only created more worry in respect to the interview. The email correspondence had also provide some detail regarding the interview process, I would be required to complete and deliver a short presentation. I would then be asked a series of questions, the process would last about an hour.

I was informed that two individuals will be asking me the questions. On the day of the interview you can’t help but be a little nervous, who else has applied? I see an individual come out of the room whilst I wait, I question myself, is he one of the other applicants, I then try to justify to myself that I look like the better candidate!!

I get the call to go through. Yes, the interview did challenge me, but I felt I had answered the questions well, my preparation had been worthwhile and beneficial.

I just had to await the outcome, the following day I got the phone call to say I had been successful.

My new challenge was about to begin.

I must confess the process of finding employment has changed considerably since I first entered the job market many years ago. It has become a challenging process and in order to be successful you need to have some specific skills, something a young person raised with me recently, “It’s not straightforward just applying for a job, there is so much more required these days”, and he wasn’t wrong.

I am the new Volunteer manager for Youth social action in Ipswich, working for Volunteering Matters UK.

Over the coming months I hope to tell you more about what we do!

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