Volunteering is great. It’s charitable, it’s work experience and it looks awesome on a CV.  

If you do want to do volunteering or need to do it as part of your Duke of Edinburgh award scheme then choose something that you might actually be interested otherwise you’re just wasting your own time and the company’s time. Doing something you have a passion in will really make it worth your while.


Looking after elderly people.


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As boring as it may sound initially, it’s actually really nice to hang out with old people, a lot of them have lived incredible lives and have a lot to say but very few people to listen. You can learn a lot from older people and you might really bond with them if you give it a chance. Looking after the elderly can also help you improve many of the skills valued by employers. You will learn how to communicate with different types of people, how to solve any problems that may arise and how to be much more patient.


Soup kitchens/ Homeless shelters.


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Working for Soup Kitchens and Homeless Shelters is great and you really know you’re helping people. A lot of people look down on the homeless and looking after them is not a particularly glamorous job but  this means they need the help of volunteers even more. Others may have turned their back on them letting them sink into depression and addiction. At soup kitchens and in hostels, you can help them by giving them a nice hot meal and a warm bed, to keep them going for a bit longer. Shelters and soup kitchens are often staffed by huge numbers of people meaning you will learn to work in a team and to take orders. You may even learn a new skill such as cookery. All these things will boost your CV and broaden your mind a bit.


Childrens' nursery.


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It can be an absolute laugh playing with little children, that is until one of them wets themselves and you have to tidy them up! But you still get to play all day long and get a lot of little followers, it’s like live Twitter, they all hang on your every word. You’ll also be able to test out whether you would like to work with children as a career. Even if you decide you would rather not, helping out at a school or nursery looks great on your CV. It shows that you are not uncomfortable with responsibility, that you can command respect and that you are very patient.


Animal shelter.


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Being at an animal shelter can be really fun but it’s not all about cuddling bunnies all day long. If you’re volunteering you will mostly like be cleaning out the cages and mopping all the floors. But you will get to play with a few animals and exercise them a bit. You will probably not get to do a lot of difficult stuff because you will not be properly trained but this will help you decide whether you want to work with animals later in life. Also it will show that you don’t mind doing more menial tasks and that you can take direction from more experienced superiors


Food Banks.


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Working in a food banks is a great experience. You’re giving out food to families and people who are really struggling to feed themselves due to financial difficulty. Food banks can really help these people. Foodbank charities are well recognised by employers, who will be impressed that you have done a charitable volunteer job.


Charity/Village shops.


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Charity shops are the obvious ones to go for as there are thousands all over the country and they are always looking for extra workers. You can work at the weekends too which is ideal if you’re still at school. Having experience working in any type of shop, whether you were paid or not, is great for your CV. It shows that you have good communication skills and an understanding of customer service. Working on a till shows good numeracy and opening or closing the shop shows you are comfortable with responsibility. Also getting this experience while volunteering could help you progress to paid part time jobs in other shops. 


Go Abroad.


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This is a popular option especially for school leavers. Volunteering in impoverished countries, whether you are teaching in an orphanage, building wells and houses or helping in community projects, can be a hugely rewarding and life changing experience. Just make sure you are doing it for the right reason. “Volunteer-tourism” has come under fire recently as many people go abroad for an enriching experience, not because they really want to help people. Also, do your research. Many volunteering companies are run to make huge profits with little or no regard for their impact on the infrastructure of impoverished countries. This is not the case with all companies, however. If done for the right reasons and with the right company, volunteering abroad can be a really great way to make an impact. It can also be very appealing to employers because it shows that you have a drive to go out and see the world and that you have an understanding of different cultures and ways of life.


Where to find volunteering opportunities?

Obviously the internet is going to be very helpful, there are so many companies whether it is international or in the same town as you, you will find something online.

Websites to consider include:


Volunteering England

VSO International

Millennium Volunteers

Do Something



working abroad