Workcamps, Skills Toolkit for Professional Development: LinkedIn Top Skills List Embodied in Volunteering

by Yaryna Kobryn –

Volunteering at the workcamp during a summer break might seem a merely leisure activity having nothing in common with professional development. However, many of the competencies acquired during the workcamp can serve in future career development and greater professional prospects. In fact, many businesses search exactly what the workcamps gives – and here is how.

The latest LinkedIn Research provides the data on the soft skills that the companies require the most in 2019.


Soft skills, the ones incorporating social skills as well as personal features and attitudes, gradually outride the hard (job-related/technical) skills in terms of their significance at the workplace.

According to LinkedIn data, more than half of the business leaders believe that soft skills are more important that hard ones – which means enough efforts should be put to develop them, starting from the student times. Here is how you can acquire and develop most of them on the workcamp.

Creativity

In the workcamp, the place which wouldn’t exist if someone’s ideas haven’t been kindled and empowered, creativity is often what seems to hover up in the air – you just need to embrace and encourage it.

From creating candle lanterns for the light festival in Belgium and brainstorming the ideas to help the castle renovation project in Czech Republic to presenting my country in an original way, the options of creativity during my workcamp experience were boundless. And so they can be for you – you just have to uncover and fuel your creativity.

Therefore don’t be afraid to suggest your ideas in the team. Try to look at things from different perspectives – and even possibly think how best case practices that you already know can be realized in the workcamp context. Take a risk to experiment – and you will see it will definitely pay off.

Persuasion

There are many cases during the workcamp when the decision has to be made together in the group – and here comes your chance to practice the art of persuasion.

Shall we spend time at home or go out somewhere? Shall we go to this pub or another? Should we shift the dinner to later hours? Why would it be a good idea going jogging early morning?

The chance given to provide persuasive argument to your opinion and simply express yourself clearly, make others support your idea or simply stand up for what you believe is the right thing to do, as well as multiple other opportunities, is why the workcamp itself is a great arena to test your persuasiveness.

Collaboration

The skill of dealing with people and working together is far more valuable at the workplace which the one could ever imagine. Collaboration builds connections, discovers new talents, uncovers inner potential, and makes the work a couple times for effective and (if the one knows how to collaborate) pleasurable.

Collaboration implies both taking certain responsibilities and trusting others in the other tasks, supporting others – and asking for support oneself. Discussing the problems and ideas, finding the solutions together, and working on the common goal – all of this can be experienced for the first time during the workcamp.   

A few weeks of working, living, eating and travelling together require collaboration. The first moment you step into the workcamp, you are no longer merely a single person from some country – you are a member of a group, a team which often comes to be so diverse and multilateral that the one may wonder how they could ever work together. And, as in any team, you learn from each other. You support each other. You get influenced by each other. You get attached to each other – so much that at some point you feel as if you have been working with these people all your life.

Adaptability

Many of us are afraid of changes. Many of us are anxious to face the unknown. A lot of people are too skeptical to try out new ideas or practices because they stick to the old way of doing things. Here is where adaptability comes in, extremely vital in the rapidly changing modern world. 

Life is unexpected in many ways so it may occur that the things go not as planned or predicted. The workcamp, as well as travelling abroad itself, teaches us to accept those unexpectancies and deal with them.

Volunteering abroad might seem to be an express training on adaptability in its very nature. New places, people, even everyday lifestyle itself – everything tests your skill to adapt to something different. On the workcamp, you might start getting used to getting to your workplace by bike, changing your lunch or dinner habits, sharing the room with others etc…The way you approach those changes define how adaptable you are.

Planning and Time Management

Planning a travel or even simply managing getting to workcamp might seem like the one not requiring a lot of skills, but the ability to arrange everything from bus/train schedules to offline maps and saved locations might be harder than it seems.

How would you arrange your leisure time on the workcamp? How would you plan getting there? How much time would It take to finish a certain task given to you? You will find out as you embark on your workcamp experience.

When I was travelling to my first workcamp, I had to take 2 buses and 1 train, cross two country borders (one of which – on foot) and spent more than 3 days on the way. Surely, there was a lot of sightseeing and city tours on the way, but the fact remains the fact – would I not have saved exact routes and locations, would I not calculate walking distance to the bus station, would I not set the alarm clocks accordingly (even though it sometimes took to wake up at 6 in the morning).

Imagine you have 1 day in the city like Paris, Barcelona or Prague. You definitely don’t want to waste it trying to figure out how to get to some places in which places to visit – you have to plan it beforehand, imagine how much time would it take to get to certain places, and set your itinerary accordingly. Time management is essential skill you learn simply from such experiences.


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