First Two Students To Achieve Outstanding Student Volunteer Status

Two students have achieved Outstanding Student Volunteer status within the SU’s new Student Volunteer Award, making them the first to do so under this new scheme.

Ben Nixon and Michael Gillibrand have each undertaken over 200 hours of voluntary activity since June 2019, and have completed relevant reflective tasks, to reach the pinnacle of the award.

Ben volunteers with St John Ambulance where he provides medical care at events across the city, county and wider region. He also plays a vital role as part of the University’s Unit Management Team, training and developing new volunteers to the organisation to be not only competent but also confident in their own skills and abilities. Ben also finds time to volunteer as a uniformed instructor with the Royal Air Force Air Cadets working with and helping to develop the younger generation, often pushing them out of their comfort zones and boosting their self-confidence. As part of the award, Ben has identified many achievements and personal developments including; the enhancement of problem-solving and communication skills as well as growing his ability to apply effective diplomacy in a range of situations. Talking about his volunteering experiences.

" From volunteering I find a sense of massive achievement and pride; with St John being able to provide aid and support to the local community and with the Cadet Forces, seeing the achievements of the young people and the associated joy this brings them when they achieve their goals, and knowing that I’ve been a part of that. Through undertaking the volunteering award, I’ve been able to reflect on my achievements and developments, something which I wouldn’t normally do."

Ben Nixon, Outstanding Student Volunteer

Michael volunteers as a Junior Training Officer for the Sea Cadets, which sees him provide exciting opportunities and experiences for the juniors to develop many of the abilities a classroom can’t provide, such as teamwork. Michael also manages to find the time to volunteer for the Teignmouth Coastwatch, monitoring marine traffic in the area, providing them with weather updates, and supporting the Coastguard where necessary. Michael has recognised how his volunteering has helped grow his confidence in using his own initiative, as well as developed his ability to communicate with different people. Talking about his volunteering experiences.

" I initially started volunteering for the DofE Award, and have continued because I find it fun and it can sometimes help distract from the stresses of uni. I found the review process of the award a really good way to start thinking about how to explain, in future interviews, the skills I have developed whilst volunteering."

Michael Gillibrand, Outstanding Student Volunteer

On completing a reflective workshop last Friday in the SU, Michael and Ben were congratulated for their efforts and for reaching the Outstanding Student Volunteer level. They shall receive a small reward and be able to download a certificate recognising their achievement from their Volunteering Profile.


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