Volunteering

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Why volunteer?
  • It is a great way of gaining experience relevant to your career choice if you can't find paid work in that area.
  • 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 eg 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 on applications from people with voluntary work experience as it shows that you have a healthy work-life balance, that you have 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 is not paid work, you are still entering into an agreement with them.  Before you get started you should be clear about how much time you can devote.  If you are a full-time student you should remember that your workload will vary throughout the year and you do not want to disappoint anyone when you are under pressure and unable to volunteer.
  • If you find an opportunity that you are interested in you should find out as much as you can about it.  Most projects will have a volunteer manager or co-ordinator and they should be able to gie 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 will 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.

You can get involved in voluntary work through student activities related to the Students' Union 

Visit Volunteer Scotland where you can use the search facility to locate voluntary opportunities in both the geographical area and volunteer sector/area you want to work in.

Use the Volunteer Glasgow website to search for voluntary opportunities in the Glasgow area.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde - volunteering if you are not at high risk

Volunteer Scotland - Ways to volunteer during COVID-19

 

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

Volunteer Scotland: Online Volunteering

Volunteer Scotland: Home-based volunteering opportunities

Volunteer Glasgow:  Search for opportunities (filter includes home-based volunteering opportunities)

 

Other Virtual Volunteering Opportunities

UN Virtual Volunteering Online volunteering allows organisations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device. 

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible.

 

 

 

For voluntary opportunities throughout the UK try Idealist.org

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 with regard to the number of days per week interns are required to work. 

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.

As a volunteer you have volunteer employment rights. If you are concerned, or would like to find out more, the following links will be helpful.

The employment section of the GOV UK website details your employment rights as a volunteer:  Volunteer placements, rights and expenses This includes pay, expenses and training as well as links to organisations who can provide advice.

Looking to volunteer abroad during your summer vacation? See our advice on international volunteering.