It really is the most wonderful time of the year. The streets are filled with glistening lights fighting early dusks and extraordinary decorations above people as they rush around to gather those last minute gifts. With the smell of mulled wine and cinnamon in the air it’s hard not to get that festive feeling.

But it isn’t always about mulled wine and gifts, the run up to Christmas is a fantastic and joyful time to give a little bit of time and effort back to your local community.

The University of Manchester is renowned for its students who invest their time and effort back in to local community projects. The Manchester Leadership Programme (MLP) is the main vehicle by which students can volunteer. It is an optional module for some courses and it allows you to complete learning activities on modern day problems in society, how these can be overcome and the change small differences can bring. You also get the opportunity to get stuck right in by meeting with other students and getting real life work done! Everyone is a winner, the community benefits from your help and you gain a new level of experience in leadership and team working skills. View the link below to learn more about the module, and see if you can take it on in the coming semester.

If the module isn’t available to you, don’t let that stop you. You can find many things to get involved in, which will enrich you and the local community equally @

Here on my placement, we have an initiative similar to the MLP scheme, only it is called Give Back. So far, I have been involved in two Give Back projects. The first involved me becoming a company ambassador. I then attended a secondary schools careers fair to speak face to face with 100s of post A-Level students about thier career options within the IT / Business industry. I remember at that stage of my academic life, I was very unsure of my options and what was really out there. The day was a roaring success and I feel the students really gained a meaningful insight to the industry from a fellow student’s perspective.

The second Give Back, and also one of the most fun packed days of my life was a Smarter Planet day for a group of Primary School pupils. IBM has high hopes to make our world smarter through the use of technology, often involved the monitoring, reporting and predicting the use of things like our planets water, roads, electricity and also analysing retail and banking trends and much more to mention!

Our main aim for the day, was to get the kids to think up an ingenious idea that would help make out planet ‘smarter’. I was responsible for the Smarter Planet presentation and general running of the day. The audience for the presentation being only 10 made it tricky to explain “Smarter Planet” but made it easy to have lots of fun. The day was an outstanding success and the kids inventions would have given Thomas Edison a run for his money, with things like pollution extracting traffic lights, 3D printable food and an electronic debit card that is implanted in the hand!!

Smarter Planet day

Smarter Planet


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