I am studying BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance degree with a placement year. My career aspirations are to be in an accounting and finance leadership role. This course teaches me the tools and skills that I can use to apply for future employment. It has given me opportunities to network and interact with other companies which may open doors and increase my employability in the future.
In March 2020, I volunteered for the role of volunteer student auditor for the Fairtrade University and College Award. A Fairtrade University is one that has made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade.
This volunteering role offered me the opportunity to work with like-minded students from a range of courses within the University of Derby, and with students from other Universities in the UK. It was a great way in which to learn more about Fairtrade and ethical consumption, whilst expanding employability skills like communication, leadership, time management, attention to detail, initiative, problem-solving and working in a team.
Shortly after I was accepted for the role, I attended an online training session via Skype with the rest of the students who had been successful. I was informed about the Fairtrade Award and what auditing is, which led to how we (as student auditors) will audit our own University’s Fairtrade projects.
After this meeting, we had to access the evidence for each criterion in the audit report. For each criterion, we had to view the evidence and assess whether it was sufficient to pass or not. If not, we had the opportunity to ask further questions in a meeting that was arranged to take place in May. We were then grouped with other people from our own institution to audit the University together. I was grouped with two other people from the University who did completely different courses to myself.
Unfortunately, we were unable to meet in person due to the Covid-19 Pandemic but nevertheless, we conversed over email and Microsoft Teams and delegated the work. As mentioned above, we had also arranged a meeting with our contacts from the University in order to ask them questions to fully complete the audit. Finally, after the meeting, we all completed the audit report to pass onto the organisers. We received our certificates once our audit report had been checked over to ensure it was completed in the correct manner.
I initially applied for this volunteering position because I was completing an Audit & Assurance module so volunteering in this way has enabled me to put my theoretical knowledge into practice. It is very much relevant to my course and it gave me an insight into what Auditors do in the workplace, which we would not normally get the chance to do.
I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every minute spent working on this project. The other two members of my group as well as the organisers and our contacts at the University have all helped to make this a really fun time.
This is an experience I will not forget, and I hope I can further enhance my auditing skills at a later stage during any work experience or other opportunities that may come my way. I would recommend any student to take up these volunteering opportunities at the University of Derby.