Volunteering advice

Volunteering can help you make career choices. You can test out different jobs to find out what you prefer. You’ll also gain experience and develop soft skills that are useful in all careers.


Through volunteering you can:

  • find out what's involved in a job to see if it's for you 
  • try out different career ideas
  • learn new skills or build on ones you already have
  • meet new people and develop your network of contacts
  • boost your confidence
  • give back to your community

Choosing a volunteering position

You may have to take small steps to get to your perfect volunteering opportunity. It can be very competitive and for some volunteering opportunities, you might need to be over 18.

You may have a specific career in mind that you’d like to gain experience in. Be creative about where you'll go and what you're willing to do. This approach can help you gain skills for the long term.

Research the sector you’re interested in. It's useful to look for roles where you could develop your soft skills, such as:

  • public speaking
  • organisation
  • leadership
  • communication

Ideas for specific careers

Here are some possible helpful volunteering opportunities to get into different careers.

Even if the role is not exactly what you want, it will still give you useful experience. It's about building skills for the future and being flexible in how you get them.

Animal care

Getting into a charity like the RSPCA might be difficult without experience. You could show your commitment by doing something like dog walking or pet sitting for friends and relatives first.


You could volunteer to lead your school or college science club or be a science ambassador.


You may want to help at an after school club or in out of school activities like Brownies and Scouts.


You could get a communications role for a local charity or write a school or college blog.


You could help organise a children’s sports team.

Social care or mental health

You could get a volunteer position as a befriender to lonely older members of your community.

Applying for volunteer positions

You’ll need a CV and a cover letter to apply for most volunteering positions.

Whether you apply for an advertised role or approach organisations directly, you should show you’re:

  • eager to help and put your skills to good use
  • hardworking, trustworthy and reliable
  • able to commit to the time the organisation needs

You can find volunteering opportunities listed on Do IT.

Preparing and making a good impression

Volunteering for the first time can be scary. It helps to make sure you're prepared.

You may want to:

  • check when you're needed, the hours you'll need to commit and where you need to go
  • research the organisation so you'll know what to expect
  • do any paperwork in advance, like confirming your identity, getting a reference or a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance
  • check if there are any special instructions like a dress code or rules to follow

Get more information

You can find out more about volunteering on GOV.UK.

More information about volunteering

Related content

Ways to get work experience

Identifying your skills

CV writing advice

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