Pavlina Pajorova

Currently in 1st year studying HNC Fitness, Health & Exercise at Perth College UHI.

Placement experience

I did my placement with Perth and Kinross Association of Volunteer Services Ltd (PKAVS) in their Mental Health and Wellbeing hub.  They provide support and opportunities to people recovering from poor mental health and wellbeing.

I found out about this organisation as I had previously volunteered with them last year at their Run or Dye event.  I simply contacted them through email and they passed my details to the right people.

I felt this placement was relevant to my studies because this area is equally as important as physical health, as well as preventing obesity and other illnesses by adopting healthy lifestyles, increasing activity and educating people about nutrition.

During my placement, I worked alongside the Activity Engagement Worker.  Once we discussed the areas that I was interested in, I started working on the nutrition and wellbeing related project. My responsibility was to create a survey (that was handed out to the clients) and later to summarise and evaluate the results as well as plan how to promote healthy eating to our clients. What I found most valuable was the opportunity to do something on my own initiative and not really do someone else's work. I've also learnt the importance of mental health and wellbeing.

Impact on future careers aims

An experience like this makes me more employable and enhances my CV.  I also got references and a lot of new contacts as I was able to meet people from the industry and have a chat with them.  Through talking with people, I also greatly increased my confidence.
I have improved my organisation skills as well as listening skills.  The ability to listen to what others say is the most important in this industry. 

Advice

I would definitely recommend a placement like this. It has been great pleasure to work alongside amazing people - staff and volunteers as well as clients. Everyone made me feel welcome from the first minute I walked in.  I enjoyed the placement so much that I recently registered to volunteer with them.

The tip I want to share is to be yourself and don't be scared to step out from your comfort zone. All the hard work will pay off :)