Why I volunteer, George Charalambous

George Charalambous, assistant structural engineer at CH2M, aged 30, uses maths for structural design and assessment in his job.

George Charalambous.
George Charalambous.

George has been inspired to volunteer as a maths tutor with the Access Project a charity which provides volunteer tutors to help students from less affluent backgrounds achieve their full potential.

Here George's reasons for volunteering in his own words……

Fact: engineers, often characterised by extremely high levels of empathy, care about significantly more causes than the average person (ok, not so sure about this but we do care about things).

Fact: it's easier to do something about some causes than others.

Fact: we spend a lot of our time and lose a lot of our sleep worrying about causes we cannot do much about (this must be right).

Being a tutor with The Access Project lies comfortably in the intersection of things I care about, things I can do something about and things I enjoy doing. I can readily say that I get more out of it than what I put in. I summarise the reasons below:

  • The extremely helpful staff of The Access Project facilitate an easy introduction process and provide good support, training and resources.
  • Fellow tutors are an excellent community of like-minded people which act as a support network.
  • I am re-learning/re-discovering Mathematics through it. There is always a sense of accomplishment (as well as confusion) in both tutee and tutor after each tutorial.
  • One-to-one tutoring allows for a good balance between structure and flexibility (I always wanted to be the one who makes Maths fun).
  • I have an interest in the education system and the process of learning which I can get an insight into through this experience.
  • I'm becoming better at explaining things by adjusting my pace, demonstrating, using pregnant pauses etc. This, of course, helps me develop in some of my ICE attributes.
  • Oh and my tutee is very appreciative and is nicely developing her understanding of Maths. This means that she's one step closer to achieving her ambitions.

The Access Projects works with high-potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing in-school support and personalised tuition to help them gain access to the top universities. They match students with a volunteer tutor based on the tutor's qualifications and the needs of the students, for a weekly academic tutorial at the tutor's workplace. Many if our students really want to improve in maths and physics, which makes engineers brilliant tutors for us.

Being a tutor is a great way for staff to show commitment and passion as well as helping them develop communication and coaching skills whilst putting their own degree knowledge to good use; inspiring a young person to achieve their potential and introducing them to the world of work.

For businesses operating in Birmingham it is a great way to meet commitments to the Birmingham Charter, around partnering in local communities and ensuring that we are supporting future workforce to have qualifications and expertise within the region.

To find out more about the project visit www.theaccessproject.org.uk.

The Access Project