Before I start the Realise programme, I didn’t know who I really was and what I could give to others. I had no experience at all and no strong qualifications to get me into a job. However, when I heard about the REalise programme through Enfield volunteering centre, even though I felt stupid in myself and thought I was not the right person they were looking for, I applied anyway.
It didn’t take long and I was invited for an interview with Stephanie. The interview went absolutely well, I had no stress at all.
The first day I joined the REalise programme in July 2012, I spoke little and didn’t feel confident. However, as the day passed by, LCRN’s team had really help me build confidence and believe in myself.
What I have got out of the programme varies from environmental education to office experience. By all our classes, I now have a different view on how to protect our world. I am now a strict enemy of waste and air pollution and I think I will do Environmental Law for my degree.
I have done two IT courses at Happy Computers which had given me more IT skills I will need for my life. I feel very confident using a computer in a office, by the grace of LCRN.
The second month, for my placement I have been working with Restore Community project where I worked in the warehouse and helped customers. I have got skills on customer service out of Restore,
In the meantime, I have been working with Real Nappies for London where I did lots of admin stuff such as replying to emails, updating the database, phone calls…
I am very grateful to LCRN and all the team for the support I have received from them. All the staff were nice to us and made me feel that I was able to make it. At REalise, I felt like at home because everyone was ready to help. They were concerned about us and wanted us to gain something and they really did their best to help us.
I thank the REalise programme because I now have all the basic skills needed to live in today’s society. It is something I will remember forever. I am now back to college for my A levels but LCRN will always be there to support me and help me find a job.
Hosanna Malongo Makanda: REalise Volunteer, July 2012
I am currently completing my work placement with the Environmental Services team at the London Borough of Lambeth. I am considering pursuing an environmental career and I definitely feel more prepared to do so after taking part in the REalise programme. The programme has been enjoyable and rewarding in terms of learning about the variety of roles available within the environmental sector as I was new to the sector. The IT course in particular was very informative and I would recommend the programme as a whole to anyone who is interested in the environmental field and wants a taster of the opportunities on offer in the sector.
Nikki Patel: REalise Volunteer, July 2012
Before I heard about the London Community Resource Network, I had taken a year out of university and was looking for an apprenticeship in engineering. It was becoming almost impossible to find an apprenticeship scheme, and I thought volunteering at London Community Resource Network sounded like a good opportunity to learn about the environmental sector and pick up some offiice skills. I applied through Family Mosaic Housing Association, and a few days later I was asked to come in for an interview.
After a month at London Community Resource Network I am really pleased with how things are going. I have been working within a team who have all looked after me and made me feel welcome. While I am here I will also be moving around different departments and learning different aspects of environmental issues and climate change, which is great. After my training I would like to work within the environmental sector as I feel I can offer a lot.
Trevor Garnett: REalise Volunteer, June 2012
I think the REalise programme is a great opportunity for young adults coming from lots of different backgrounds. Everybody should be aware of the environmental issues we are facing and how organisation like the LCRN are trying to tackle these problemes. At the LCRN, they are putting everybody in the condition to give its contribute. Environmental education, confidence and practical skills is what I received from the programme to help sustaining our world. Thanks to the LCRN I've found a very stimulating internship at the Sustainability Unit of the Lambeth Council which will represent a great experience for my future job hunting.
Lorenzo Callegaro: REalise Volunteer, June 2012
As far as I can remember I have always been an advocate of sustainability and conservation. Before this program I was in Spain doing an internship in renewable energy where I gained practical experience.
I didn’t hold a degree prior as I didn’t believe in getting into debt was the right option so I decided in building my skills gradually through an apprenticeship and then move up. When I arrived I was unemployed and saw the LCRN program with the hope of gaining business and soft skills that would boost my chances of gaining employment.
I would say that my highlights of this program was the In-house training on general and specialist subjects which really opened my perspective of the world and helped me to focus on what I really wanted in regards to career. Stephanie, Alex and the team were exceptional and really delivered the training program and helped me build up confidence in myself. There was only 2 of us in class so it was much easier to learn.
Also the CV workshop with the local council and the information regarding social enterprise and nonprofit business was very useful which got me inspired to create one. The tasks that were given during the internship was also a good exercise.
Since gaining employment from Hilton International as a Facilities Engineer, I have applied what I’ve learnt in the program and it has given me a promotion to Junior Sustainability Officer. I have also implemented a Hydroponics project on site with the produce used in the kitchens. All this was possible only after gaining confidence with this program and would definitely recommend others to do. The next step is to start a Non Profit to help beat fuel costs and hunger using my knowledge and hydroponic systems.
Ruben Oliveira: REalise Volunteer, June 2012
I can tell that today I am a different person from the one that arrived at the LCRN office on the first day of the REalise Volunteer Programme.
Since I started in the beginning of May, I have been learning so much, not only in the subjects that I was already expecting such as the environment; waste problems and solutions; transferable skills like CV writing and interview technique, but also about me as a person, about my strengths and weaknesses, about my vision of the world.
I was received and treated as being one of the team, as a friend. They made me feel that my work was good and appreciated and that I had the knowledge to do anything with my future with no fears.
I am currently finishing my month of work placement which I will continue with until I find a job. I believe my eyes are more open than ever and now, not only do I feel that I have the skills, but I also have the confidence to grasp the opportunities that are yet to come.
Joana Pereira: REalise Volunteer, June 2012
I am currently an Environmnetal Intern with the biggest children charity in the UK, working on the improvement of its Environmental Performance.
This internship is a great opportunity, which will open up many doors for my future worklife and I know, I would not have gotten it without the REalise Programme. The two months with LCRN gave me a broad insight into environmental issues and the general work life, equipped me with many transferable skills and most importantly gave me with the right amount of confidence to "go out there" and find my way in the Environmental Sector.
It has been the perfect stepping stone and exactly what I needed as "environmental novice".
Anna Schroder: REalise Volunteer, April 2012
The Realise programme really helped me gain the confidence I needed to find my first job within the Environmental sector. The REalise team were so friendly and offered brilliant support and encouragement. The programme was very well organised, allowing me to learn a range of things from environmental issues such as waste management, to interview techniques and broadening my knowledge of ways to find work in this job sector. The REalise programme helped me to gain a great range of valuable work experience at the West London Waste Authority, where I learned so much about the industry and gained further confidence. Soon after completing this, I found work with an Environmental company and I believe I may not have been successful in finding this role if I hadn’t taken part in the REalise programme.
Catherine Alcoran: REalise Volunteer, February 2012
I appreciate the time I spent at LCRN REalise programme. It vastly improved my transferable skills, management skills and communication skills. I have also gained a better understanding of the current environment issues relevant to London. By being as a project assistant for Real Nappy for London, I gained hands on experience in social media marketing, data base management and meeting management. This programme was a stepping stone for my future job hunting in the environment sector.
Last but not the least, I do appreciate a lot the help REalise programme team members gaveto me. From the training section to the future career advice follow up, they are always there to help. It is a great internship programme for those who are eager to learn and at the stage of pursuing their future careers.
Susie Sheng: REalise Volunteer, February 2012
I undertook the Realise programme with LCRN in January to February 2012. I first discovered the REalise Programme through Environmentjob.co.uk. I was looking for something that would give me experience in administration as well as teaching me a variety of skills. The programme helped me achieve this through gaining significant part-time office experience where I was able to gain skills in databases and telephone handling and also to brush up on my report writing. The programme also helped me both refresh and gain new knowledge of environmental issues. I was perhaps one of the oldest people on the progrmme, with my 25th birthday around the corner. The staff were very friendly and helpful.
I was also able to gain skills in CV writing and interview techniques. If I have any problems or need any advice in applying for jobs, they are flexible and have helped me significantly since I left the programme.
Through the programme I was also able gain IT skills in Excel and Word through funded programmes in association with Happy Computers.
I did a month’s placement at a Community Garden where I was able to gain insight into financial work and the organisation also helped put me in touch with other organisations where I was able to gain other essential voluntary experience. Overall, I was able to learn and relearn what I wanted. I attended one or two days a week but would have preferred to have spent more days there.
The only criticism I really have was that although their suggested Google video did help introduce some new shortcuts, I thought that the video included some unnecessary irritating instructions glamourising the advertising amongst other things. This seemed to promote aspects of the site which you did not want them there in the first place.
Since I left they have carried on helping me towards my goals. Part of this has been where they have also sent jobs to me when they thought it might suit me as well as a regular alert and any other volunteering opportunities, which have been very useful. Overall, on a score out of 10 I give them eight.
Simon Brook: REalise Volunteer, January 2012.
Before I took part in the Realise programe I was in a monotonous job in which I had no interest in. Coming to LCRN provided me with the challenge that I needed and gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I am still looking for a job in the third sector but I am not without hope. The staff were extremely welcoming and very trusting in my ability. I felt that I was instantly accepted by everyone. LCRN provided me with vital first hand office administration skills in which I am looking to build upon.
My month volunteering with TRAID was great fun; there was an array of experiences involved in the intern. I particularly enjoyed marketing and arranging one of their all important events, and I hope to be able to work with them again soon. Overall, the Realise project provided a fantastic opportunity for me.
Jo Mammone: REalise Volunteer January 2012
I am currently in paid work as a marine taxonomist at Marine ecological survey Ltd. The REalise programme helped me to find this job by improving my CV and interview technique. The programme also boosted my confidence and provided me with a positive approach to finding a job in the current market. Being part of the course and the related internship helped me find a direction and be more focused regarding my job search.
I really enjoyed being on the REalise course; not only providing me with skills and experience to add my CV, but with the confidence to go out and get into the work place. Everyone at LCRN was friendly and helpful, which made going in for the course a pleasure.
Lucy Hirschle: REalise Volunteer November 2011
I took part in the REalise programme in November and I really enjoyed it. Through the internship that followed I got a job at the London Re-Use Network in December. The REalise programme gave me the opportunity to improve my CV and become more confident in looking for jobs. The REalise programme directly led to my job now, it opened up opportunities I didn’t know were there. REalise also gave me the chance to do an excel course which has helped me in my job a lot. I enjoyed learning about environmental issues, particularly ‘Greenwashing,’ - the programme has made me much more environmentally aware. The staff are all very friendly and made me feel welcome. The Realise programme is doing a good thing, helping out those people who are finding it difficult to find a job and I’m very glad I took part.
Rosie Stogdon: REalise Volunteer, November 2011
I am currently working in the Charity sector as an administrator working with families and children. The REalise programme had given me a chance to get office experience, which has helped me move towards my career goals. The staff are great. Before attending the REalise programme I did not know much about the jobs in Third Sector. If it wasn't for REalise programme, I wouldn't be in paid work now.
Razia Shaikh: REalise Volunteer, November 2011
All the things that I have learnt from the REalise programme will benefit my future career in long term. Due to the social and economic situation we are facing now, I might not be able to jump immediately into the sustainable environment field, but the REalise programme provided me with a good introduction of various topics such as re-use, waste hierarchy/waste management, composting/food waste, carbon auditing, marketing and social enterprise. I will have the chance to implement any of those issues once I am stable in a professional position. This programme guides me very well in my journey to an environmental career. The impacts on me will be life-long.
Olivia Cheah: REalise Volunteer, October 2011
The training and skills obtained from the REalise programme has helped me in improving my CV. The programme has given me more knowledge on waste management, re-use, IT skills and work ethics. I gained more work experience and skills from my work placement at Bright Sparks, an appliance reuse organisation based in Finsbury Park, provided by the programme. The staffs at the REalise programme are great and very friendly.
Victor Obinna: REalise Volunteer, October 2011