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The benefits of volunteering

Whatever career you aspire to, volunteering can be a great way to start building the skills you'll need in the workplace and it offers a range of benefits to your professional and personal life. Below, we look at eight key benefits of volunteering and how you can find a role you'll enjoy.

By April Baniqued. Published 04 June 2024.

1. Enhances your CV

Volunteering is a great way to display your character on your CV. Employers want candidates who are passionate, hardworking, reliable and enthusiastic. Volunteering displays these traits by showing dedication to skill development in your free time.

2. Experience with less commitment

Something you will often hear is that you need experience. Unlike paid roles, volunteering often requires less commitment. This means you can gain valuable experience whilst still managing your studies and other responsibilities like childcare, with ease.

3. Exposure to a work environment

You can volunteer in roles directly related to your career aspirations or in similar environments. This allows you to demonstrate first-hand knowledge of industry practices. Unlike other candidates, you can show employers that you will be a lot easier to transition into the real-world responsibilities of the role.

4. Better understand yourself

Stepping outside of your day-to-day routine and diving into something different can teach you a lot about yourself. You’ll discover your likes and dislikes, which can help guide your career choices.

The experience doesn’t have to be directly related to your future career. You may be an aspiring lawyer who volunteers at a charity shop. Interacting with customers at the storefront, you may discover that socialising is not your strong suit, leading you to prefer a solicitor role that focuses on background work rather than a barrister role that requires a crowd performance.

Volunteering can also help overcome challenges. If socialising is difficult for you but you want to improve, regular exposure can make it seem less daunting and as the say goes, practice makes perfect.

5. Build your network

You will meet many different people, all with their own skills and experiences. Being surrounded by so many diverse backgrounds, you are bound to learn valuable lessons. Build a relationship with those around you, you may end up finding a mentor, a reference on your CV, someone who can help you find a job or even a lifelong friend.

6. Feel accomplished

Giving back to the community gives a sense of accomplishment, especially as you recognise the great difference you make in someone’s life.

Volunteering also connects you with like-minded individuals who share your drive to make a positive difference. These meaningful connections can help fuel your passion and ambition, foster a sense of belonging and create a stronger bond with your community.

7. Develop your skills

Volunteering of course helps to develop your skills. No matter your career aspirations, employees will always look for real-world soft skills like teamwork, communication skills, leadership skills and working with confidential information. Volunteering opportunities can showcase these abilities.

8. Can lead to a job

Volunteering can potentially lead to a paid job. By demonstrating your hard work, you can show the organisation that you are an ideal candidate. Since you’ve learned how the organisation operates, your transition to a paid position will also be smoother and require less training, compared to hiring a new candidate.

 

Volunteering Opportunities Available

Internal University Opportunities

Our students can benefit from a number of volunteering opportunities, many of which can be found in our . Some roles include:

  • Criminal Justice Dependency and Recovery Volunteer
  • Childline Volunteer
  • Mental Health Telephone Advice and Signposting Service Volunteer
  • Learning Disabilities Project Volunteer Worker
  • Independent Support Volunteer Worker
  • Living Care Volunteer Worker
  • Pro Bono Clinic.

External Opportunities          

Volunteering doesn’t always mean the role has to directly relate to your future career. Taking part in work outside the academia can help build soft skills and showcase your passion and hard work. Here are a few ideas:

  • Working in a charity shop
  • Sports coaching
  • Going abroad to help with international aid
  • Spending time in an animal shelter
  • Helping the elderly in a care home
  • Handing out supplies to the homeless
  • Events marshal
  • Skills trading.

Here are a few places you can search for external volunteering roles:

  • - a charity that supports other charities, you can volunteer based on your specific skills.
  • - the UK’s national volunteering database, you can choose based on your interest and how much time you want to commit.
  • - a gap year volunteer organisation that runs programs internationally.
  • - organises international volunteer projects run by UK-trained leaders.
  • Local council websites.

 

Volunteering can significantly distinguish you from other job candidates. Our students can find more volunteering opportunities on our Employability page.