Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. As part of the Volunteer Spotlight series I am meeting up with volunteers who have been making outstanding contributions to the organisation and finding out more about the work that they do.
Amani and Jacinta
If I’m being truly honest, coming away from this month’s Volunteer Spotlight interview with Amani Magdoubi left me full of inspiration. Amani is an extremely well deserving nominee for the Spotlight, not only because of the valuable support that she offers us here at National Museums Liverpool, but for the support that she offers other organisations and communities around Liverpool.
Amani has been volunteering since she was at college and has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities that have come her way. Many of Amani’s volunteering roles have introduced her to new contacts through networking which have turned into new roles; this is how she started with us at National Museums Liverpool. Amani met a member of the Development team at the SheTrades event in Liverpool, who told her about roles within the department, this then led to Amani’s current role in the Finance team. Amani also volunteers with Tate Liverpool as part of the Tate Collective and a local women’s community group as well as roles with the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and the Sony Photography Awards to name but a very small few.
Volunteering with the Finance department has provided a great number of career development opportunities; Amani has been able to learn how to use the SAGE finance system which is something that she had previously wanted to use and gain experience in a finance, office environment. Typical day to day tasks include researching new suppliers and categorising the information, proof reading, analysing data and working with foreign currencies. Amani has played an integral part in the organisations set up of the Approval2Buy scheme, having watched the project develop, she is now tasked with facilitating communications with teams who want to use the new scheme, this has helped her get to know other people in the organisation. Amani strikes me as a meticulous individual who takes pride in her work, explaining that she wants the work that she does and the data that she handles “to be of value”.
One aspect of volunteering for National Museums Liverpool that Amani has really enjoyed has been the family-like atmosphere that she has felt from her team. She explains that everyone has been lovely and very understanding, Amani’s supervisors Sam and Jacinta have provided her with professional support and help with her CV; Amani and Sam meet regularly to discuss her development, provide feedback and any other support that she may need. It was lovely hearing how valued Amani is in her team, Sam explained that he trusts Amani to make progress and that it is a relief to have her support projects; they are able to help her to make her next career steps but she is also helping them to improve: it is mutually beneficial. The role that volunteers play is vital to the organisation and helps to make it what it is. Something that has set National Museums Liverpool a part from other places that Amani has volunteered has been the recognition programmes, such as the monthly rewards scheme that we have signed up to through THRIVE. By having a long term volunteering role, Amani explained that she feels valued, and having access to an email account makes her part of the team.
Amani’s education background is in accounting, finance and business management but has fallen into arts and culture through her volunteering roles almost accidently. She has now developed a passion for the arts which also feeds in to her interests outside of volunteering (where she finds the time I do not know), her hobbies include various crafts including sewing and she is currently enrolled on to a course to help develop skills that she can hopefully turn into an entrepreneurial project. Creativity aside, she also keeps up to date with the business world through podcasts, talks and networking.
When asked why others should volunteer Amani was incredibly poised when she explained that despite people saying “it’s not worth it” or that “it’s a waste of time”, volunteering actually helps you to develop your professional skills and is a stepping stone to help you find a your career direction. Furthermore, volunteering helps you to find your feet before you find a job, so that the world of work doesn’t seem like such a shock. Amani explained that she still plans to volunteer when she is in a job because she wants to give back.
Jacinta is an advocate for volunteers within the organisation and has always embraced embedding volunteers and those on placements within her team; Sam is here as part of the Civil Service Fast Streamers programme and this is the first time he has had supervisor responsibility and is enjoying helping Amani to develop her skills.