Give & Gain Day at Back on Track: Looking Back

This May we were thrilled to host four volunteers from Mazars, one of the largest accountancy firms in the UK. They were taking part in Give & Gain Day, the national celebration of employee volunteering.

This year an unprecedented number of people volunteered for Give & Gain Day, which is run by Business in the Community. Staff from Mazars in Manchester chose to volunteer for Back on Track because they all wanted to use their skills to help disadvantaged people improve their lives. On the day the day they delivered presentations and workshops to Back on Track service users, providing fascinating insights into their experiences of work.

Roberta (right), one of the Mazars volunteers, with Fehmeeda, a Back on Track service user

We asked Vicky Wornell, one of the volunteers, about her experience of Give and Gain Day at Back on Track, and this is what she had to say.

What does your role at Mazars involve?  

I am a PA at Mazars. My role involves looking after the travel and diary arrangements for the Partners but also raising fees, covering reception and switchboard, and routine tasks relating to client correspondence and events.

Why did you choose Back on Track?

With Back on Track I could see a way to offer my skills in a focussed and useful way. I believe in the principal of second chances and providing opportunities for those who have not had them before. Sometimes all someone needs is a lucky break.

Could you describe your day for us?

After a presentation to familiarise ourselves with the organisation I was taken to a group that were learning about office administration and, I believe, getting some work experience in the field. The group ranged from the experienced, able and educated who had simply been out of work for a while and needing to refresh their skills or had hit a bump along the way, to those with learning disabilities and other long-term disadvantages or obstacles. All were enthusiastic, hopeful and interested in knowing what an administrative role in the real world might entail. I spoke about my current role and how I got there, previous jobs and obstacles I had myself faced in the past. The group looked at finding positives to obstacles (e.g. English not being native tongue means you have a second language to offer your employer).

What did you get out of the day personally?

I was hugely impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers and employees as well as the clients. I felt some sadness too at the enormous obstacles some clients would have to face as well as the circumstances that had brought them to this point but also grateful and optimistic that they were not being abandoned and written-off but given the chance to improve their situation in such a vibrant and positive environment. It was a great reminder that we have mostly all gained our own positions in life due in large part to luck. I had to ask myself whether, if born into a different family with different cultural, emotional and intellectual values, I would have achieved as much as I have in my life. Without the support and security I had throughout my childhood and adult life, would I have avoided all the pitfalls life can throw at you? It was a wake-up call for me – it is too easy to feel entitled to what we haven’t got instead of grateful for what we have.

Back on Track would like to thank the Mazars LLP employees Vicky, Roberta, Lisa, and Rachel for their tremendous support during this year’s Give & Gain Day. We look forward to seeing them here again soon.