There are many opportunities to work voluntarily whilst you are studying, during vacations and after graduating. Although generally unpaid, many placements include a small payment for expenses and help with accommodation.
If you want to gain experience in a particular occupation, such as journalism, fundraising, or social and community work, then volunteering could be a good way of getting started. You could, for example, volunteer to do clerical work for Amnesty International, work in an Cancer Research charity shop, fundraise for national charities, help to organise campaigns, work with environmental and conservation groups, staff help lines, befriend prisoners, etc.
Websites featuring volunteering opportunities in the UK
- DIVA Bradford: Information on volunteering opportunities in Bradford.
- Volunteer Centre Bradford: Opportunities to volunteer within the local community.
- Do IT: Database of UK volunteering opportunities.
- Volunteering Matters: A range of volunteering opportunities across the UK.
- Cityyear: Challenges young people to tackle educational inequality through a year of full-time voluntary service in schools.
The majority of overseas volunteering opportunities incur costs which organisations suggest may be met through fundraising. Some organisations offer bursaries to those volunteers with particular financial difficulties. Start with:
- VSO Voluntary Service Overseas: Leads the UK government International Citizen Service (ICS) programme in partnership with respected development organisations who have expertise in international and youth volunteering.
- ICS International Citizen Service: A UK government-funded development programme for 18 to 25-year-olds offering volunteering opportunities in international development work. Volunteers are asked to fundraise £800 (currently paused due to COVID).
And other organisations offering international opportunities include:
Some of these organisations also offer volunteer opportunities for people over 25 years but there will be higher costs attached.
There are many other organisations offering volunteer opportunities that are not part of the ICS programme.