This Student Volunteering Week we’re telling the stories of just some of the fantastic volunteers at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU). Here’s Benjamin Barr…
Why did you get involved in Volunteering at DSU?
Whilst at De Montfort University, I joined Leicestershire Police as a Special Police Constable. Having passed the recruitment and selection phase in summer 2016, the 4-month training programme began at the start of the academic year. Shortly after Christmas, I finally attested as a Police Constable and have been helping to police the streets of Leicester for several weeks. No one day is the same and each incident I attend offers different challenges.
On campus, I provide employability mentoring to students seeking placements and graduate roles, covering topics from numerical reasoning to interview advice. It started out informally with as few friends but over the course of the year I’ve met new students from varying disciplines and courses than I didn’t anticipate. I was fortunate enough to have a graduate role secured early on, so I wanted to help my peers reach a similar position.
What is the best experience you have had whilst volunteering?
Most of my time with Leicestershire Police has been spent training, which was a fantastic time and the cohort consisted of some great people that I hope to stay in touch with. When the training finally came to an end and we were attested as Police Officers – that was the best moment.
It’s very easy to become demotivated or lack lustre during long periods so when we were finally sworn in and received our warrant cards in front of family and friends, it really drove home that it was all worth it. Equally, the speeches given by senior ranks in the service echoed the positive mission that we were a part of and how vital our role was in public safety and confidence. I’m personally driven by a benevolent cause and making a positive impact, so this was an inspirational moment for me.
Several weeks into the full role, I have been witness to some sobering and surreal incidents but being in a position where I can work towards a positive outcome (even if a positive outcome seems unlikely) is a nice feeling.
What would you say to anyone thinking about volunteering?
Volunteering has been one the best things I’ve done. From a personal perspective, the development aspects are incredible. Depending on what opportunities you can find, there are a plethora of skills to learn. By mentoring people with numerical reasoning, I’ve become much more patient and understanding whilst also increasing my own numerical fluency. As a Special Police Constable, I’m able to do something vastly different from the run-of-the-mill routine at university, which breaks up the week quite nicely.
It’s a fantastic way to up-skill, meet great new people and make a significant contribution to a good cause.
Ben has held his position as a Special Constable with Leicestershire Police alongside his studies at De Montfort University (DMU).