A young woman is encouraging teenagers to try volunteering because she says it will help them get into university and a paid job.
19 year old Zoe Divers from the Isle of Wight says she has first-hand experience of how unpaid work can make a difference; she believes it helped her get work at a coffee shop as well as an intern role at Cowes Enterprise College.
Zoe has been volunteering since the age of 15 and also helped out at an Isle of Wight tourist attraction, a model railway which belongs to her grandmother!
She says: ‘Living on the Isle of Wight it can be hard for young people to get experience in employment without going to the mainland for more opportunities.
'It can be a bit catch 22 when you are 15 or 16 because if you want a job you need experience and to get experience you need a job.’
With Fixers she has created a guide to volunteering on the Isle of Wight.
‘I want to use my experience through working, volunteering and education to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.
‘One of my friends volunteered at a charity shop on the island and that really boosted his chances of getting his previous job at the Royal Yacht Squadron as a barman.’
The handbook gives tips on the dos and don’ts of volunteering and lists organisations where young people can find opportunities, quotes some government legal advice, has a section for parents, and also includes help on writing a CV.
Zoe believes volunteering is a way of gaining work experience - albeit unpaid - that will impress future employers or university decision makers.
She's currently keeping busy during her gap year - working as an intern and travelling - and will start a drama and theatre studies course at Aberystwyth University in West Wales in September.
She says: ‘Volunteering can boost your people skills and confidence, which are both hugely valuable attributes in the world of employment.
'It is a win, win situation and so my main message is for young people to put themselves out there.’