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Many people want to do good in their communities. Find out how volunteering can help you gain experience and how to become a volunteer.

What is Volunteering?

Volunteering is helping the community or an organisation in your own time for free.

Whether you can give a lot of time or only a couple of hours a month, there’s an opportunity out there that could suit you.

Charities, third sector organisations, and community groups regularly need volunteers to help them to improve other people's lives.

Volunteering can also be a good way to fill part of your gap year.

Why Volunteer?

As a job seeker volunteering can help you to:

  • Develop skills and keep active – volunteering for even just a couple of hours a week can increase your chances in getting a job and develop skills
  • Boost your CV or personal statement - voluntary work can look good on your CV. Many people will be impressed that you have done something worthwhile in your free time
  • Build your skills - if you can't find other work or training straight away, volunteering could help you to gain skills and experience
  • Make new contacts – volunteering can help you build a network and give you more opportunities to find work. Ask your contacts has information about how to find jobs that aren't advertised.

As an individual volunteering can help you to:

  • Improve confidence - volunteering can help you learn new skills, meet new people and develop new interests
  • Meet new people - you will make new friends, experience new challenges and increase your confidence
  • Help others - becoming a volunteer is rewarding. Volunteers often feel good 'giving something back to society' through helping others
  • Make a new start - you may have reached a stage in your life where you want to 'give something back' into your community - or share your skills. Some people even kick-start a brand new career for themselves

How to become a volunteer?

  • Work out how much time you can offer over and above your other commitments, such as school, work or college
  • Think about the type of work that interests you, perhaps working with people, buildings, machinery, animals, plants or nature. Whatever your interests and skills, such as helping an older or disabled person, restoring steam trains or caring for animals or the environment, it’s likely that you will find plenty to interest you
  • Some opportunities can be done from home by online volunteering. These opportunities can be teaching people how to use technology like sending emails or help a charity to improve their social media presence
  • Social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn sometimes advertise opportunities
  • There are many organisations and charities to consider. Have a look at some of the links on this page to help you find suitable volunteering opportunities in the UK and abroad
  • Do your research if you plan to travel and volunteer abroad. Read about the country and their travel requirements before you plan to travel. Find out more on Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK

Some organisations that offer volunteering opportunities include:

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Work experience

Work experience is gaining experience of what working life is like. Find out how to get the work experience you need to get into the job you want.


Internships are a type of work experience for students in university or graduates. They are a great way to gain experience related to your degree. 

Gap year

Find out if a gap year is for you and see our list of things to consider. See examples of how gap years are spent.