5 Minutes with Community Trainer Jonathan

In our 'Five Minutes with ...' series, we'll be asking members of our Citizens Advice Gateshead team about their jobs, and the work they do to help us towards our vision of a fair society for all, with lives well lived.


Jonathan Conlon
Community Trainer

How did you get started here?

I have worked for Citizens Advice Gateshead for nearly 3 years and since October 2019 I have been employed within the charity as  a Community Trainer with our Volunteer Forward project.

What do you do within the  Volunteer Forward project?

As a Community Trainer I am responsible for helping people to recognise how they can volunteer forward in their lives - to make progress towards their next steps, whether that's into a job or further training. This involves me in coaching some of our wonderful volunteers at Citizens Advice Gateshead, helping them to use their volunteering experience as much as possible in preparing for work, and developing and delivering accredited training in the community, again to help people to take advantage of the the skills, experience and knowledge they're gaining through volunteering by getting a qualification to help them to take their next steps.

How does your work help people ‘volunteer forward’?

My role is designed to have a two-fold impact. Firstly, to help unemployed and economically active people in Gateshead to get a job by using volunteering as an opportunity to build confidence & gain experience before moving into the world of work.

Secondly, we are continually looking to  increase our capacity to help others, by recruiting & training new volunteers to join the fantastic team at Citizens Advice Gateshead.

Why should a volunteer get involved?

The Volunteer Forward programme is great for anyone looking to gain new skills & qualifications to help them to move into paid employment. Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to build confidence & meet new people whilst helping the wider community of Gateshead. It also provides a great insight into the benefits of volunteering and how people can get more involved.

What volunteering have you done in your life and what do you get out of it?

I am a volunteer and trustee of Gateshead Foodbank, having been involved with the charity since its inception in early 2012. I love helping people within the local community and being able to use my free time in such a productive way. From helping people across Gateshead that are in crisis to meeting new people and making friends with other volunteers, the role is really varied and extremely rewarding.

I would recommend volunteering to anyone looking for their next step, be it to learn new skills, increase confidence, make new friends or to give something back. Many organisations within Gateshead rely on volunteer contributions and simply could not function or survive without volunteers, so this really is a two-way street.

Get involved today!

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