As ProjectScotland celebrates its 10th anniversary, one of its first volunteers credits the organisation with giving her a different career path.
Amy Drysdale (29) signed up to volunteer as a teenager after looking for something to do during her summer break at university.
After looking at helping out with the National Trust for Scotland, she was put in touch with ProjectScotland, the charity which helps young people through volunteering, and has been working there ever since.
Amy said: “I was looking for something just during the summer while I was on a break from university.
“I had seen the launch of ProjectScotland on the television and I had also initially looked into volunteering with the National Trust.”
But after discussing the work that ProjectScotland was looking to do, she decided to sign up.
Getting a behind the scenes look at how these historic buildings are run and looked after was also a great experienceAmy Drysdale
“I was given such fantastic opportunities as a volunteer,” Amy continued.
“I helped out at Culross Palace and Hopetoun House in Edinburgh which was so much fun. It was great to be able to dress up in costumes and learn about the history of the time.
“Getting a behind the scenes look at how these historic buildings are run and looked after was also a great experience.
“I think the highlight of my time as a volunteer was rafting in the Forth. The boat overturned and started to sink – that was an experience!”
Having studied History at St Andrews University, Amy was sure that a career working in a museum beckoned.
“Part of the reason why I first approached the National Trust was because of what I studied at university,” Amy said.
“But my time spent at ProjectScotland has changed that. I am now the volunteer coordinator with the National Trust.
“I’ve been in that same position as people when they first sign up, so I know how they are feeling.
“At the same time, I know what they can achieve and all the benefits that they can get from volunteering.
“I am able to help steer them in the right direction and find a position that is suitable for them.
“I honestly didn’t think that I would still be involved 10 years down the line after I first walked through the door – but I am so glad that I am.
“I’m grateful for what ProjectScotland did for me and I wouldn’t be where I am without it.”
Factfile on ProjectScotland
Established in 2005, ProjectScotland is the national youth volunteering organisation in Scotland.
For 10 years it has offered 16 to 30-year-olds the chance to change their own life and make a positive contribution to their community and their country through volunteering.
Young people gain an experience of work and a chance to develop themselves.
In addition, charities throughout the country get extra skills, talents and energy.
Local communities and the people within them benefit as new links and connections across generations are made.
It has already supported more than 5000 young people from across Scotland who have given in excess of three million volunteering hours to over 540 charities and not-for-profit organisations and it hopes to place 600 volunteers this year.
Over the past decade, ProjectScotland has helped 78 per cent of the young people who have come through its doors gain places in employment, training, or in education within six months of joining.
To get involved and to find out more, visit Project Scotland