March 2018 Volunteer of the Month

ELBA’s volunteer of the Month for March 2018 is Iftakher Hussain of UBS, nominated for his commitment to not one but two volunteering opportunities with Homerton Hub in the space of just a few days, and providing local east Hackney residents with an outstanding level of support in reviewing CVs, providing mock interviews and information on the range of different jobs and careers within the corporate sector.

It becomes apparent that while the western parts of Hackney have improved significantly, the eastern parts had either remained the same or, worse, declined. For example, the east parts of the borough have significantly higher rates of unemployment and underemployment in comparison to the rest of the borough, and the rest of the UK. ELBA’s newly launched embedded project, Hackney East, has been created to tackle these issues, partnering with the Homerton Hub employment and skills team (part of Hackney Works). With the support of funding companies Linklaters, Societe Generale and UBS, the project will rely on the contribution of business volunteers giving their time and expertise to assist local residents to boost their employability skills and career aspirations. Iftakher recently participated in two employability skills workshops and made a telling difference. One of the beneficiaries supported by Iftakher, despite receiving constructive feedback for over a year from her employment advisors and work coaches, had refused to shorten and/or make any changes to her CV. Following Iftakher’s support, the beneficiary made swift amendments to her CV and was successful in receiving a job interview just a few days later.  Iftakher’s support and dedication really left an impression on the beneficiaries he supported with much thanks coming from the Homerton Hub team.

We caught up with Ifakher to find out about his volunteering experience:

1) Why did you volunteer? 

I felt I needed to be more proactive when volunteering opportunities arose especially as UBS actively encourages employees by giving two days annual leave for voluntary work and projects. I also noticed colleagues carrying out volunteering work and they would express how rewarding it was so these two reasons combined made up my mind to actively participate as well.

2) What did you gain from your volunteering experience?     

First and foremost I met some wonderful people both within the community such as organisers like Joseph Carey at ELBA, local government representatives (Homerton Hub) and also the individuals from the local community who we were helping. I realised that there is much more I can do personally to help people in our local community and that actually a small amount of time invested can actually have a significant impact on the lives of individuals in the community. Finally knowing I made a little difference gave me a real tangible sense of achievement which I have not felt for some time.

3) Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and if so then why?    

I would definitely recommend it, not only to my colleagues but also to family and friends as well. The volunteering options that ELBA offer enable people to use their skills, whatever they are and in some cases they did not know they possessed themselves in order to benefit local communities and charities.

“We had been working with this one particular client for just over a year now with limited success in helping her to take on feedback regarding her CV. She was proving to be resistant to change. However with the support of Iftakher and corporate volunteers through just one workshop, our client responded to feedback positively, submitted her CV to job vacancies and received an interview the following week. A big thank you to Iftakher for all of his support and helping to make a positive difference.” Dujon Harvey, Homerton Hub Project Manager.

A massive thank you to Iftakher for all of his contributions to the local residents of east Hackney.

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