Protect volunteer, Mathilde Woolford, discusses her experience volunteering for Protect and the experiences and opportunities it gave her
In May 2022, I spent a week with the Protect team, a chance to completely immerse myself in whistleblowing law and client-company relations. Prior to my week spent with them, I had been briefed on what it was going to look like: packed with educational masterclasses, presentation preparations and team meetings, as well as sitting alongside the charity’s legal director, Sybille, and legal advisers in a prominent whistleblowing court case. Being given the opportunity to be behind the scenes with the UK’s leading whistleblowing charity meant that I was able to nurture my foundational knowledge of legal processes in the whistleblowing department, whilst being guided by those who knew it best.
Throughout the week, I took part in a plethora of Protect’s activities, and shadowed Sybille, who gave me rich and valuable work experience that I will never forget. From accompanying Protect at the Court of Appeal to meeting the charity’s trustees, I was able to discover more about the legal field, an area of work I have always dreamt of taking part in. One of the moments that stands out the most for me, other than my extremely educational and invigorating experience in court, was shadowing Sybille, Kate and Emma as they delivered their Financial Service Whistleblowing masterclass, a service that Protect offers to engage and educate employers and whistleblowing champions across the country. I learnt about the appropriate arrangements needed when responding to a whistleblowing complaint, as well as how to avoid the victimisation of whistleblowing in the workplace. I and all those attending the masterclass, were thoroughly engaged throughout the call, avidly taking part in all the interactive activities.
However, what impressed me the most was how friendly the Protect team was. Throughout my time, I was helped by every member of the team, as well as having all my questions answered and regularly being invited to shadow them too on Protect’s advice line or in helping prepare masterclasses. Before starting work experience, I had little knowledge of the intricacies of whistleblowing law, but found myself leaving Protect with a solid foundational knowledge and an even greater motivation to follow the legal career path I am looking forward to embarking on. Working in an organisation like Protect is nothing short of a dream for me: shadowing Sybille gave me an opportunity to learn in a way that I would otherwise have not had the chance to, and I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Protect team for the work experience opportunity they offered me.