What’s the difference between volunteering and work experience?

Volunteering is giving your time freely for the benefit of others without the expectation of financial gain.

Work experience, job trials, and internships may be paid or unpaid, but are different to volunteering and subject to different regulations.

Unless it is one of the above, you should not be told that you need to volunteer in order to secure a paid position within the same company.


I’m not sure how much time I can spare each week

If you don’t have much time to spare, or have a varied schedule, that doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer. Even just an hour of your time can make a big difference.


Do I need to have experience or qualifications to volunteer?

A small number of volunteering may require previous relevant experience or qualifications,  but the majority of organisations are looking for someone with a willingness to help and learn, and any lived experiences you have can also be vital.

Many organisations will also help you with training and personal development during your volunteering as well.


Will my expenses be paid?

While volunteering is not done for financial gain, organisations are allowed to pay out of pocket expenses such as travel costs for volunteers. However, not all organisations will be able to reimburse expenses, it is best to ask before assuming if this is the case.

What kind of things can I do?

There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities available to suit a variety of interests. You can volunteer in retail, in community kitchens, outdoors, with children and many more areas. 


Will my benefits be affected?

If you are in receipt of any benefits, we do strongly advise that you check with your advisor before taking on any new volunteering roles or hours. Though in most cases you can still claim benefits while you are volunteering.