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All you need to know about being an Apps for Good Expert Volunteer

Nov 17, 2022
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It’s important to us to provide an educational experience that reflects the real-world and helps young people develop the skills they’ll need for future jobs. That’s why interaction between young people and industry volunteers is one of the most important parts of the Apps for Good experience. Not only are there huge benefits to young people in taking inspiration from those already in their chosen careers, it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience for the volunteer too.

Here Apps for Good team member Georgie Packer answers some frequent questions about volunteering as an Expert. If you have any extra questions please get in touch with Georgie via experts@appsforgood.org

What is an Apps for Good Expert volunteer?

An industry professional who gives some of their time to help young people learn tech innovation skills. Your expertise enables young people to practise the new skills they’ve learnt during an Apps for Good course. You’ll inspire them to pursue a career in technology.

How do I register?

Go to www.appsforgood.org/volunteers and give a few details about your career, then we’ll send you login details for our Expert platform.

Why is volunteering so important?

The UK is a world leader in impactful disruptive tech innovation, which will be critical in securing a sustainable future. But many young people are not aware of the career opportunities in the sector, or even worse, are put off a career in tech. Teachers also tell us how difficult it is to describe the range of careers that exist. Volunteers help to solve this problem.

What impact will I have?

Let's hear from our teachers and students...

One of our teachers described how students felt after engaging with one of our industry experts, “When they have gone online and discussed their ideas with the Expert then received feedback, the kids walk out of the room ten feet tall.”

Another teacher told us, “The skills for learning, life and work that are developed in these experiences – creativity, team working, problem solving, communications, research, analysis, etc – impact on all aspects of our young people’s learning and life beyond our school. Apps for Good open doors to industry experts we ourselves simply wouldn’t be able to. Our young people have worked closely with the likes of Spotify, MasterCard, Salesforce, Virgin and Lego in recent years.”

And a student said, “It was really good because they pointed out all that we needed to work on. And they pointed out all the good stuff we’ve done and how we could improve it and what to do better”

Another student told us that, “The volunteers were very friendly and basically told us that they are very engaged in our app. And so that made us feel good. It was very interesting to see from a different person's perspective, because obviously we as a collective, we have our ideas, but when you see it from someone else’s perspective it’s different. You see maybe certain flaws, certain positives, which you didn’t see. It really helps you improve your idea, and it makes you feel good.”

Do I need to be a tech expert?

No, we want to show young people the diversity of careers where they can use the skills they’ve learnt, so any professional experience will be hugely beneficial. All you need is a positive and constructive approach to giving feedback.

What will I do while volunteering?

Schools teaching an Apps for Good course can request an Expert session at three stages:

  • Ideation: Students will present their proposed problem and early ideas for a solution and you’ll give them feedback so they can develop it further
  • Wireframing: Students share their initial app designs and user journey for your feedback
  • Prototyping: Students will show you their app prototype, this could be more like a product pitch, but remember to keep your feedback as constructive as you can.

You might also be asked to talk about your career, and answer questions about your job. This is really important in demystifying tech (and other) careers, and inspiring young people to continue learning.

What’s in it for me?

A recent Expert volunteer told us “It was an inspiring experience and I felt privileged to have the students present to us their ideas.” and another said, “It was one of the best virtual volunteering sessions I have ever participated in.”

Expert sessions are a chance to learn from young people - you’ll see the issues they care most about, and the ideas they have for solving them. It’s fun - you never know what the students will come up with - and we hope you’ll finish the call really uplifted.

And of course volunteering is always great for your professional development, LinkedIn profile and CV.

How much time do I need to give?

Most Expert sessions are an hour, to fit with a school lesson. You can sign up to as many or as few as you like. Requests will be for school time - usually between 9am and 3pm.

Is it all remote?

Yes, by asking volunteers to dial into classrooms through a video call, we make our programmes as accessible as possible for students across the UK, even those living far from tech industry hubs. Plus, it makes volunteering really easy for you.

What training will I receive?

When you register we’ll send you a link to our welcome pack but if you need more help please get in touch. And look out for our monthly emails with tips on how to make the most of being an Apps for Good Expert.

How do I know when a teacher needs me?

Teachers request an Expert using our platform. You’ll receive an email or you can login and check whether there are sessions available.

What happens after I accept a session request?

The teacher will contact you with all the information you need, including details about the class you’ll be speaking to, which Apps for Good course they are taking, what stage they are at, and whether there’s anything they’d particularly like to know about you and your job.

What platform will I use?

Most schools use Microsoft Teams, but it does vary. The teacher will send you a link to the platform that works best for them.

Can I do another session?

Yes! You can sign up for as many Expert sessions as you like.

Can I give you feedback after the session?

Yes please! We always want to hear from our volunteers so please fill in the feedback form and get in touch if you have anything else to say. It’s really important to us to be able to monitor the impact of these sessions, and share stories about the students benefiting from them, so please do share feedback.

Remind me how to sign up?

Go to www.appsforgood.org/volunteers and register now!