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Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 22 October 2015 at 2:02 pm

Up to 300,000 young people across the UK now have the opportunity to become an Energy Envoy in order to complete the Volunteering section of their Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) has recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering scheme to educate thousands of young people about energy consumption, energy generation and different technologies which can improve energy use. Through the scheme young people will help schools and communities use energy more wisely, save money and reduce carbon emissions.

This blog is the third in a three-part series through which we’re looking at what the energy literacy gap is, why it matters, how we can tackle it and how Energy Envoys can make a real difference.

What does volunteering as an Energy Envoy involve?

Energy Envoys start their volunteer by taking an Energy Quiz to find out how much they already know about energy, before learning all about the big energy challenges of our time and how to tackle real-world energy problems through an online Energy Tutorial. The Energy Tutorial modules cover Energy and Sustainability, Energy Usage and Building Fabric, and explain all types of concepts and topics from renewable energy systems, to how to read energy meters and the different options available for improving the energy performance of buildings.

Next, participants pick an energy project and follow a step-by-step guide to help their community improve the use of energy in buildings. Their project could involve conducting energy audits, organising an energy awareness campaign, running an energy saving competition or providing an energy advice service – it’s up to them.

While completing their project, they record their progress, collect photos, videos and other materials, and share their achievements at the end of their project. NEF provides opportunities for participants to share their successes and learning through the website, events and the wider media, as well as adding to a body of learning and experiences for future years’ participants to access.

What’s in it for young people who volunteer as Energy Envoys?

Here are just some of the reasons why young people volunteer as Energy Envoys:

  1. Supporting a good cause

Energy security and climate change are two of the biggest challenges facing humanity today. By volunteering as an Energy Envoy, they can make a real difference to the people and places around them and help NEF meet its aim of improving the use of energy in buildings. Energy and sustainability are extremely live topics and young people with a range of skills and interests are motivated by the chance to take part in tackling these challenges in a practical and tangible way.

  1. Boosting CVs

Volunteering for a leading sustainable energy charity will boost their CV and they’ll be able to learn all about the energy sector and energy and building technologies. The scheme is endorsed and supported by the UK’s leading professional engineering institutions, including the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and volunteering as an Energy Envoy will provide an insight into some of the career opportunities available in the built environment and energy efficiency sectors. Participants also gain leadership experience by setting up an energy project and develop their communication and analytical skills through advising others on improving energy use.

  1. Support from the experts

Energy experts from NEF are on hand to support Energy Envoys during their volunteering. NEF provides an online Energy Tutorial to give participants background knowledge and understanding about energy and step-by-step project guides to help them set up their energy project. They also provide template documents, as well as one-to-one guidance via the Energy Envoys email address. Participants don’t need any previous knowledge or experience about energy to volunteer as an Energy Envoy – the scheme has been designed so they can learn everything they need to know through the online tutorial.

  1. Have fun volunteering

Volunteering should be fun, as well as helping a good cause and counting towards a participant’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Energy Envoys have the chance to shape their volunteering experience and focus on the aspects they enjoy most. Although the step-by-step project guides set out everything they need to do, if they fancy doing something a little bit different or using some of their own ideas, they can do just that! As long as their project meets the DofE programme and sectional requirements, it will count towards their Award. Energy Envoys is also a great way to volunteer as a group and to work as a team to make a difference in communities.

Want to find out more?

To find out more about the Energy Envoys scheme, visit the Energy Envoys website. Help to spread the word by retweeting (@EnergyEnvoys), by liking Energy Envoys on Facebook or by sending the website url to anyone who might be interested in getting involved: www.energyenvoys.org.uk. Participants can sign up here.

Photo: An Energy Envoys learn how to conduct energy audits

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Related blogs

Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

 

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