Student volunteer Mared standing outside and smiling at the camera wearing a bobble hat

‘An opportunity to develop skills and gain confidence whilst enjoying myself’

Published: 09/02/21 | Categories: Author: Mared Edwards

Find out how volunteering through the medium of Welsh spelled adventure for student volunteer Mared.

I’m Mared Edwards, a Welsh and Drama student in my third year at Aberystwyth University. I was a pupil at Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern and it was mainly there that I started getting involved with the Urdd. By the time I was in the sixth form I was Chair of the Forum, representing the Forum on the Syr IfanC Board committee.

Then, before starting as a student at Aberystwyth I was elected as the organisation’s Vice-president and as Vice-chair of the Syr IfanC Board. This year I have started my role as the Board’s President and Chair, which has changed its name to Bwrdd Ieuenctid Cenedlaethol yr Urdd (The Urdd’s National Youth Board).

After moving to university in Aberystwyth I was lucky enough to be able to work with the Urdd in Anglesey and in Ceredigion. I started volunteering with the Urdd in Ceredigion and within a few weeks I was offered a part time position as a youth officer there.

At the time, when I started volunteering with the Forum, it was a way of making friends and getting to know people from different schools. When it was time for me to write a Personal Statement for university or to create a CV for jobs, all the volunteering work I had done over the years was a great help and so the value of all those hours became evident. I will always be grateful to the Urdd for providing me with all the skills I have learnt by today.

I can’t imagine what type of person I would be had I not started volunteering with the Urdd when I did. It has opened doors onto many career paths and has given me the confidence to volunteer in other areas with various organisations. I know that all the voluntary work I have done in different areas will always be a great help to me when I set about finding my ideal job after graduating.

Without volunteering I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to travel to Italy, France or Patagonia. I wouldn’t have received a part time job with the Urdd in Ceredigion. I definitely wouldn’t be President of one of the biggest youth organisations in the world nor would I be Chair of the National Youth Board.

The opportunities volunteering with the organisation have given me have been priceless, but I also know that the organisation would not work without the volunteers either.

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of volunteering through the medium of Welsh. It’s one of the biggest contributions towards keeping the language alive. Many of my school friends spoke English but through volunteering their confidence in using their Welsh developed.

I continue to speak Welsh with them to this day, and I know that being able to include all that volunteering work on their CVs, alongside the fact that they can speak Welsh, has been a great help to them when trying to find jobs.

To find out more about the value of volunteering in Welsh, join our free online event with the Welsh Language Commissioner on Tuesday 23 February.