Volunteering can be a great way to gain relevant work experience and develop new skills while also giving time to a worthy cause.
It can be a particularly useful way to build up skills in certain sectors e.g. health and social care, environmental and heritage work because of the large number of third sector organisations involved.
A survey of 200 of the UK's leading businesses (TimeBank, 2009) showed some of the career benefits of volunteering:
- 73% said they would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without.
- 94% believed that volunteering can add new skills.
Finding an Opportunity - Volunteer Centres
There is a volunteer centre in every region of Scotland. These centres advertise currently available voluntary opportunities, and they can also offer you information and advice on volunteering more generally. The following centres operate within the Highlands and Islands:
- Argyll and Bute: Third Sector Partnership
- Badenoch and Strathspey: Voluntary Action in Badenoch and Strathspey
- Caithness: Caithness Voluntary Group
- Inverness: Signpost
- Lochaber: Voluntary Action Lochaber
- Moray: Third Sector Interface
- Orkney: Voluntary Action Orkney
- Perthshire: Voluntary Action Perthshire
- Ross-Shire: Ross-Shire Voluntary Action
- Shetland: Voluntary Action Shetland
- Skye and Lochalsh: Skye and Lochalsh Council for Voluntary Organisations
- Western Isles: Volunteer Centre, Western Isles Eilean Siar
Finding an Opportunity - other useful sources of information
- The university's jobs database advertises voluntary roles alongside paid roles.
- VolunteerScotland holds a database of volunteering opportunities and information about international volunteering.
- Do-it contains a searchable database of voluntary roles as well as information about paid jobs with the beyond profit sector.
- Volunteering Matters offers volunteering programmes nationwide
- The British Council has information on working and volunteering abroad.
- European Voluntary Service has details of opportunities in Europe for people aged 17-30.
- XchangeScotland holds details of European opportunities, and has links to partner organisations worldwide.
- Voluntary Service Overseas has programmes for professionals and for young people aged 18-25.
Volunteering with the University
During your time at university there will be opportunities to undertake voluntary roles such as being a class rep, or serving on a university committee. You may also like to consider getting involved with the university's students associations and student clubs and societies.
If you are a graduate from the University of the Highlands and Islands and are interested in volunteering why not help current students by becoming an alumni career mentor? You could help students making the transition to life after university by sharing your insights and experience with them.
Watch the Volunteering video we recently created with the help of the university Students' Association, HISA.
The benefits of volunteering.