To get the most out of volunteering, you need to pick a volunteer role that you are interested in, works around the other things that you have going on in your life and like what the organisation does and stands for.
Volunteering can also help you to get on to the university/college course you want to study or help you get to your dream job – so you may also want to think about how different volunteer roles can help with your skills and experience.
There are loads of opportunities for you to choose from, below is an idea of the kind of things that you can do – whenever you’ve found what you’d like to do then use our search tool to see what’s available close to you! You can also take a look at a small sample of opportunities available in your local area this month.
All volunteering can be used when applying for course or jobs, but we have suggested some types of volunteering that you may want to consider for certain careers.
There are opportunities to get involved with animals whether that is helping at an animal sanctuary, dog walking or at centres providing therapy and support to children with disabilities. This can give you great experience if you would like to work with animals in the future.
Most of your favourite arts and heritage events and venues rely on volunteers to do roles such as helping in museums, providing support backstage at performances as well as facilitating community arts, drama and music. These roles provide an invaluable opportunity to get some experience in the arts that can help you get your creative juices flowing!
There are lots of ways to volunteer with young people including: playgroups, homework clubs, youth groups, holiday schemes, scouts, guides, mentoring. This type of volunteering may be of interest to you if you plan to become a teacher, child minder or youth worker.
Roles in this area include: befriending and assisting with social activities; providing practical support to someone with a disability; helping at group outings; providing respite for carers; or recording books and newspapers for people with visual impairment. This can give help you show commitment to your chosen career if you are interested in areas such as medicine, nursing and social care.
Volunteers can also get involved in work to help protect and improve the environment and conservation with roles such as clearing paths and communal areas; planting trees; and dry stone walling. This can provide you with skills and experience if you plan to work in this area, as well as if you are interested in construction and other skilled sectors.
Fundraising is one of the most important things that every charity and community group needs to do in order to make sure that they can continue to deliver their services to those who need them most. Roles could include: organising events like sponsored walks, participating in treks or cycling events overseas, working in a charity shop, helping with a flag day or being part of a fundraising committee. This kind of fundraising can give you key skills if you are interested in business, management, finance or event management.
There are many ways that you can become involved with local hospitals providing much needed services such as visiting patients; providing transport to and from appointments; hospital guides; hospital radio; patients library; or helping out with activities. This can give help you show commitment to your chosen career if you are interested in areas such as medicine, nursing and social care.
Many community groups and charities are managed by volunteers, this could include joining committees that deal with events; fundraising; PR; or campaigning. There are also opportunities to get involved in management committees or become a school governor. This experience can be useful for gaining skills in a variety of areas, including management and organisation.
It is essential that community groups and charities get their message across to the public, and volunteers are crucial to this, through roles such as working with social media sites like Facebook and YouTube; updating and designing website; taking photographs and vide footage; and writing articles. This is a great way to build up skills and experience if you would like to work in the media or in public relations.
Many sports clubs rely on volunteers to provide coaching and leadership, and to organise activities. This can be useful if you would like to work full-time in sports and leisure as well as with young people or certain types of therapy.
Overseas volunteering can be a good way to have a great summer or gap year while also giving something back. Opportunities outside Northern Ireland include helping fundraise for developing communities; taking part in building projects; or participating in leadership programmes. The skills you gain can be used in a wide variety of jobs, but may be of particular use if you want to get experience in construction; organisation; caring; or young people.
So what are you waiting for? Search our online list of volunteer roles now to find the best place for you to volunteer!