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Volunteer to full-time: Andrea’s Big Life journey

I looked in to volunteering as a way of gaining the skills and experience I was missing.

After graduating, I wanted to work in mental health so I applied to become a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP). Applications are highly competitive and I soon realised I would need more experience to get an interview. I looked in to volunteering as a way of gaining the skills and experience I was missing.

I came across The Big Life group at the Zion Centre and was excited to see the wide range of services they delivered included mental health. After successfully applying, I was able to volunteer with their Peer Support team as a drop-in group facilitator and with their eTherapy service where I helped to provide online therapy.

Slowly but surely I gained new skills and experience and felt confident enough to apply for a part-time role at The Sanctuary, providing mental health crisis support. In time, this progressed to a full-time position and I was working directly with clients across Manchester, Bolton and Wigan. From there I was able to move on to secure a trainee PWP role at Talking Therapies Manchester – the role I’d always wanted!

From volunteering to gaining a full-time job in my current role, Big Life has supported me along every step of the way. They gave me new opportunities, new experiences and the chance to meet new people and make contacts.

Andrea Whitworth is a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at Talking Therapies Manchester, which provides online support and professional therapists to help people deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes.