Undecided which career to go for? Had enough of studying? Why not volunteer – gain valuable experience and boost your CV. This section gives advice on how to volunteer and points you to some resources to help you choose and organise a voluntary job.

Volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways to learn new skills and share the skills you have. You can make a real difference to people living in the toughest circumstances. You get a chance to work creatively, stretch your capabilities, take more responsibility and have new professional skills and experiences to offer an employer. Read CSV’s report on the advantages of volunteering.  

We are not recommending any one organisation included here but they all provide helpful advice on how to get started. 

Here you will find information on:

Volunteering in the UK

You should start out by thinking about what kinds of organisations you would like to volunteer with - who do you want to help and why? 

A great place to start for guidance is Volunteering England, a volunteer development agency committed to supporting, enabling and celebrating volunteering in all its diversity. 

CSV trains over 12,000 young people and adults each year, helping them build the skills and confidence they need to progress to further education or employment or to set up in business. CSV also provide information on gap year volunteering in the UK, for before and after university. Gap year volunteering before university will enhance your UCAS application, make you more independent and develop your social skills. Gap year volunteering in the UK after university will help you build on what you’ve learnt with some real life experience and could help you find that elusive first job.  

  • Search for volunteer vacancies in the UK with Do-it
  • Contact the professional bodies for the area(s) you are interested in to see if they have or know of any relevant volunteering opportunities. Volunteering with a professional body will give you great insight into the sector you're interested in and plenty of networking opportunities with the experts.
  • Government provide advice on your rights as a volunteer.

Volunteering Abroad

Fancy taking your enthusiasm and skills to another country? Get going on your search for things you could do and how to get there by checking out the resources listed below.

  • The British Council are a fantastic place to start if you are thinking about volunteering or working abroad.
  • Challenges Worldwide is an international development charity and award winning social enterprise. They recruit volunteers with professional skills and experience and train them to work with local overseas partners in developing countries.
  • Gap Guru provides gap year projects, supporting local communities and organisations through ethical and sustainable programmes.
  • Inspire Volunteer provide meaningful placements for those wanting a gap year or break, teaching English abroad, working in childcare, women´s empowerment or other community based projects.
  • International Volunteer HQ is based in New Zealand and has grown to become the world's leading volunteer travel company, working in over 25 countries around the world and placing thousands of international volunteers in affordable, safe and responsible programmes every year. Projects include Teaching, Childcare, Medical, Construction and Renovation, Community Development, Turtle Conservation and Wildlife Conservation.
  • Plan My Gap Year provide affordable volunteer programmes from two weeks to six months across 6 countries in Asia. Projects include Orphanage Work, English Teaching, Medical Internships, Community Outreach, Teaching Buddhist Monks and volunteering at local NGOs. 
  • Project Trust places volunteers to work overseas for a year out, aimed at 17-19 year old school leavers in full time education. Types of work include social services, English teaching, outdoor activity and community development schemes. There are projects in over 25 non-European countries.
  • VSO is a leading development charity that sends volunteers to work abroad. Find out more about volunteering roles and voluntary jobs overseas.
  • Work & Volunteer offers a wide range of year out gap year and volunteer opportunities all around the world.

Working Abroad

Many UK-based professional bodies are international. It is worth checking out their websites for specific information on working abroad. You could also contact employers directly to find out about opportunities working in their international branches.

To find out if your qualifications are recognised in another EU state, check out the European Commissions Professional Qualifications site.

Take a look at the following resources for further advice and guidance:

  • EURES - the European job mobility portal.
  • Go Work Abroad informs you about the legal obligations you will encounter, and the bureaucratic hurdles you will have to overcome, as well as offering tips about attractive opportunities in different parts of the world and hands-on practical advice about what to expect in specific countries.
  • Jobs Abroad monthly bulletin for vacancies in all sorts of areas.
  • Overseas Job Centre - a guide to working, travelling and living abroad, working holidays and gap years.
  • The Riley Guide introduces you to an international online job search, organised by countries or region it lists many online sites and services that are useful for your job search.
  • Skills and Competences for Mobility in a Competitive Europe provides a range of information relating to CEPLIS’s recent work on transparency of qualifications and professional mobility across the European community.
  • The UK Government website offers general advice for UK citizens on working abroad.
  • UK NARIC – is the national agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide. They provide the only official source of information on international qualifications to organisations recruiting from overseas and to individuals wishing to work or study in the UK.