Careers and Employability Centre

UK volunteering

Find out about volunteering opportunities in the UK.

About volunteering

Giving a small amount of your time is a great way to make a positive contribution and gain valuable work experience.

It can help you:

  • build your confidence
  • meet new people and develop your contacts
  • explore your interests and motivations
  • develop your skills and experience
  • think about your future career plans.
Local volunteering
National volunteering
  • – online database of volunteering opportunities. Search by postcode to find vacancies in your area
  • Volunteering England: I want to Volunteer – find your nearest volunteer centre, major organisations that place volunteers, specialist areas and more
  • Vinspired – national volunteering opportunities for 16-25 year olds. Search for opportunities, find advice in your local area, earn v Awards


  • Be clear about your role and the organisation's expectations – ask to discuss these before you start.
  • Ask each member of the team to explain what their role is so you know who does what.
  • Keep a record of your progress. Record your tasks, projects, skills and areas for development.
  • Get out in the field and attend different events, if you can.
  • Ask the organisation to provide a reference for you when you leave.

Volunteering opportunities on CareerHub

Charities and Volunteering sector guide

Thinking about working in the voluntary sector after graduation? Check out our guide to working in the not-for-profit sector for insights and how to gain experience

International students and volunteering

It is important to note that there is a difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering. Any time you spend doing unpaid employment counts towards your maximum number of hours of work per week, as stipulated on your visa, whereas volunteering does not.

A volunteer does not have a contract of employment or receive payment other than travel and subsistence expenses. They do not take the place of an employee and volunteering roles are usually with charities and voluntary and public sector organisations.

A voluntary worker often has a contract with their employer and they are required to attend the place of work at particular times and carry out specific tasks. Voluntary workers are also usually paid in goods and services instead of money.