Careers Service Volunteering

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is a great way of gaining experience relevant to your career choice. It allows you to network and meet new people in different organisations. You can make contacts and discover a wide range of career options.

It increases self-confidence and allows you to develop skills - for example, leadership, self-reliance, negotiation, team-working, budget-setting, and project management.

You can normally decide how many hours per week or month you can give to help out.

Employers look favourably at applications from people with voluntary work experience. It shows that you have a healthy work-life balance and commitment and that you're not simply motivated by money.

What's expected of a volunteer?

Charities and organisations need volunteers that they can rely on. Although it's not paid work, you're still entering into an agreement with them. Before you get started, you should be clear about how much time you can devote. If you're a full-time student, remember that your workload will vary throughout the year. You do not want to disappoint anyone when you're under pressure and unable to volunteer.

If you find an opportunity that you're interested in you should find out as much as you can about it. Most projects will have a volunteer manager or coordinator. They should be able to give you a good explanation of what your role will be.

Some voluntary projects may only need you on an "as and when required" basis. Others will look for regular and sustained involvement. You may need to agree to a mutual trial period with the voluntary organisation.

You don't always need relevant experience to be a volunteer. In fact, training is often provided and is a great opportunity to learn new skills. But you'll need to commit to undertaking this training. This may mean that you need to wait for the next training course before you can start volunteering.

Volunteering in Glasgow

Virtual volunteering

Some organisations have adapted their volunteering opportunities so that they can be done virtually:

Employment rights as a volunteer in the UK

As a volunteer, you have volunteer employment rights. If you're concerned or would like to find out more, check out the employment section of the GOV UK website. This details your employment rights as a volunteer Volunteer opportunities, rights and expenses. This includes pay, expenses, and training as well as links to organisations that can provide advice.

Internships with voluntary organisations

Over the last few years, a number of voluntary organisations have developed their own internship programmes. These tend to run over the summer months and can be flexible regarding the number of days interns are required to work per week. 

These positions are unpaid but will provide valuable experience, especially for anyone considering a graduate career in the voluntary sector.

Have a look at the programmes recently advertised by British Red Cross and Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Our faculties & departments