We recently caught up with Matt, who only left his volunteering role in our Finance team last month after his experience at Options has led to him receiving an offer for his dream job!
Here’s what he had to say…
How long did you volunteer with us for?
I volunteered with Options for 15 months. Initially, I had applied for an admin role, but during the application process I had mentioned that I wanted to be an accountant in the future. Options then instead offered me a place in the Finance department to get me the accounting experience I desperately needed!
What did you get up to whilst volunteering at Options?
At first, I was being shown the ropes with some basic system entry. Things like expenses, receipts, reconciling supplier accounts, and a few other basic entry tasks. This really helped me get my head around the Sage software which is used by accounting departments around the world. After having spent some time with Options, I was offered the chance to undertake my own project. This involved creating an information and organisation pack to assist support workers and people we support with their finances. On my last day we rolled out 100 of the packs and it was such a rewarding feeling knowing that I have contributed to the great work done at Options.
What has been your favourite part about volunteering for Options?
The accounting team were so much fun! Whether it was Trev cracking some of the worst puns you’ve ever heard, James cracking wise ones about the football the week before or Vicki joking to crack both of them over the head because they won’t shut up! It was always such good fun in that room and working with a team that gets on so well made my time there all the more better.
It isn’t limited to these guys either! Everyone at Options was so nice to me and you can’t not feel welcomed when you are working here. Over Christmas and Easter, I was sent cards and presents from the lovely Training and Recruitment department just to say thank you for the work I had done and I really felt valued at Options.
I loved seeing people we support popping their heads in to say hello every now and then. To actually interact with people we’re helping despite not providing direct support reminds you just how important the work is across the whole of Options. The smiles, the jokes, the laughs – all of it was so enjoyable to be around.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the project I was doing for my last 4 months. To be trusted with such big responsibility even only as a volunteer was a great feeling. It was so rewarding knowing what I produced here would be used even after I was gone. Contributing felt so good!
What skills have you developed during your time at Options that you’ll take to your new job?
Prior to Options, I had no office experience. I always saw offices as a very formal and boring affair. Options showed me that this isn’t true. When you’re going to spend so many hours of your time at work clearly it’s better to enjoy yourself doing it! I now look forward to the relationships I will have in future employment, knowing full well that it can be as friendly and fun as it was here.
The practical skills I enhanced during my voluntary experience included time management and self-management (through my project having a deadline), communication (through working with other departments and meeting some people we support), understanding software like Excel and Sage, as well as my teamworking ability (me and Vicki had a lot to do in the last few weeks and we made a great team).
Would you recommend volunteering at Options to others?
Yes, yes and YES! I originally planned on spending around 4 months at Options and somehow, I stayed for 15. Not to mention most of it was through my final year at university. I think this shows just how easy the people at Options make the experience. In my whole time I felt no pressure to do anything I didn’t want to and I was encouraged to try anything, and I had great fun doing it! When I had lots of university work, they were great with me, understanding and gave me as much time as I needed.
If you are considering volunteering, I can’t express just how great Options is. I will always have fond memories of Options! Also, thanks to my experience at Options I received an offer from the accounting firm Ernst & Young to do audit in Manchester next year. This was my dream job! It required some form of accounting experience and clearly, they really valued my voluntary work.
I will always be grateful for everything Options did for me and I’d like to use this to say thank you to everyone for making me feel at home for the past 15 months.
Our Finance Officer Vicki worked closely with Matt throughout his volunteering experience with us. Speaking about his time here, she said:
“Matt was a great asset to us for over a year. He supported the Finance team with day-to-day transaction processing and developed new finance tools for our staff.
Whilst here, he learnt how to use the accounts system, how a finance team works within a charity and how to manage a company wide project to a tight deadline.
We loved having him here and we look forward to having volunteers in our team in the future.”
We also recently surprised Matt by presenting him with a Staff Award, recognising his achievements and thanking him for all his excellent work.