Volunteering

There are lots of reasons for undertaking voluntary work - to help others; to learn new skills and develop existing ones; to gain an insight into an area of work, as well as practical experience; and for personal development. Whatever your main motivation for volunteering, the experience will enhance your CV and your employability.

Volunteers can commit to working for several days, weeks, months or years, depending on their circumstances.

Some volunteers work for no payment at all; sometimes, limited expenses are paid and/or board and lodging is provided during the placement. In other cases, volunteers are required to raise a sum of money (sometimes quite a substantial amount) in order to take part the project. You need to be clear about the conditions of the placement and whether or not you can afford to do it.

Employers need to be careful to ensure that the placement does not contravene National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation. Voluntary workers can be an exception but if the arrangements amount to a contract (written, verbal or implied), then the workers are entitled to the NMW unless they are working for a charity, voluntary organisation, associated fund raising body or statutory body. 

Graduates who are volunteering while receiving benefit should have a look at the Gov.UK page on when people can volunteer.

There are a great many useful websites, some of which are listed below. Use these websites to help you find opportunities for volunteering while you are a student (during term-time, vacations, year out) and after you graduate.

Search for voluntary opportunities on AberConnections.

See also the AGCAS video clip on volunteering (AU user name and password required).

Opportunities in the UK

Opportunities abroad