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, being involved will enhance your experiences, give you new perspecitves on life and improve your employability skills.
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 in a dpecific 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 excempted from the regulations, but if the arrangements amount to a contract (written, verbal or implied), then 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 ABERcareers.
See also the AGCAS video clip on volunteering (AU user name and password required).
Opportunities in the UK
- AberSU Student Volunteers
- Volunteering Wales
- Wales Council for Voluntary Action
- Volunteering England
- Volunteer Scotland
- Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland)
- Gov.UK - Find volunteer Placements
- do-it.org.uk - predominantly UK opportuities but some overseas options
- Project Scotland - opportunities in Scotland for those aged 16 - 25
- Volunteering Matters
- Reach Skilled Volunteers - opportunities for skilled volunteers]
- Step Together
- Idealist - projects in the UK and overseas
- World Service Enquiry
- International Voluntary Service - opportunities across the globe
- 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)
- Ecoteer - low cost overseas opportunities
- 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