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
- Student Volunteers Aberystwyth
- Volunteering Wales
- Volunteering England
- Volunteer Scotland
- Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland)
- Gov.UK - Find volunteer Placements
- TimeBank UK - Volunteering, voluntary work and voluntary projects
- Project Scotland - opportunities in Scotland for those aged 16 - 25
- Volunteering Matters
- Reach Skilled Volunteers - opportunities for skilled volunteers]
- Step Together
- UNA Exchange - projects in Wales and abroad
- World Service Enquiry
- International Citizen Service
- Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) - mainly opportunities for those with qualifications and experience but they also have Youth Volunteering programmes
- Projects Abroad - projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe
- Restless Development - youth-focused international development charity which runs health education programmes in South Asia and in Africa
- Inter Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE) UK - volunteer opportunities in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe (EVS)
- Original Volunteers - low-cost volunteering opportunities in South America, Africa and Asia
- Latitude Global Volunteering - opportunities for 17 - 25 year olds in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas
- Quest Overseas - projects and expeditions in South America and Africa
- Love Volunteers - opportunities in about 30 developing countries
- Working Abroad - a range of humanitarian, environmental and teaching projects abroad, plus a database of other organisations offering opportunities
- Volunteering Solutions - opportunities mainly in Asia, Africa and South America
- International Volunteer HQ - volunteering opportunities abroad
- Volunteer World - volunteering opportunities abroad