Volunteering is where you give your time or skills to help others without getting paid. It is a great opportunity to develop skills and learn new ones, whilst also having fun and getting experience in a particular job role or sector. It’s also useful experience to put on your CV.
Volunteering opportunities can be found in a wide range of jobs and sectors, for example sport and recreation, culture and heritage (e.g. museums and galleries), health and social care (e.g. care homes, nurseries), environmental (e.g. wildlife, conservation), education and learning (e.g. libraries, schools) and professions (e.g. media, retail, marketing).
Many people find that volunteering helps them to find paid work in the sort of job they want and to work out what they enjoy (and don’t!) whilst developing their skills and having fun.
Some websites that allow you to search for volunteering opportunities include:
You might also want to think about participating in the National Citizen Service. It's free and you get two residential trips to help build your confidence, develop new skills and boost your CV, before running your own community project. Looked after children and care leavers aged 16 or 17 are guaranteed a place!
You can volunteer and claim benefits if the only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses, like travel costs and you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get. However, it’s a good idea to speak to your Work Coach at Jobcentre Plus, your personal adviser or the person you speak to about volunteering to double check that this is the case.
As well as working and studying, Luke has spent lots of time volunteering. He has volunteered for a youth academy and sits on a leaving care forum that meets every fortnight. He says ‘this gives me a real sense of achievement. If we change just one person’s life, it’s great to know we are making a difference.’
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. This means you can earn money while you learn the skills needed for your career.
Traineeships combine training with work experience. They help young people aged 16-24 to prepare for an apprenticeship or other employment.
Supported internships help young people aged 16-24 to learn the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.
Volunteering can be a great opportunity to develop skills and learn new ones, whilst also having fun and getting work experience.