A student guide to volunteering

A student guide to volunteering

Volunteering isn ™t just about picking up rubbish along the road or photocopying endless stacks of paper. There are volunteering opportunities to suit all interests, schedules, skill sets and ages. You ™ll find that uni students are in high demand for volunteer positions ” particularly those who are studying fields like event management or marketing. But, no matter what you ™re interested in, there ™s bound to be an opportunity to help out in one way or another.

What options are available?

Volunteering opportunities can be found in a huge range of organisations and industries ” everything from charities and community groups to large-scale festivals and events. You may find yourself working backstage at a fashion show, serving drinks at a music festival or helping to organise an international conference. There are also plenty of opportunities to lend a hand in your local community ” assisting at the animal shelter, coaching a sporting team, serving food to the homeless or spending time with the elderly. You may even choose to complete some volunteer work overseas, helping out in third-world communities in regions such as Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Additional opportunities exist on campus, where you can get involved with events such as O-Week and Open Day ” speaking about your course, conducting campus tours or helping to set up activities for visitors.

What are the benefits?

Not only is volunteering a rewarding experience and a great way to give back to the community ” it also looks great on your résumé! On top of that, it's an excellent way to gain new skills and knowledge: everything from working as part of a team and problem-solving to organising events and working to a budget. Volunteering can also give you insight into potential roles or industries of interest and may be a useful networking tool for the future.

Whatever your interests, you ™ll be able to tailor your volunteer work to an area you ™re passionate about. This may mean volunteering for a charity or cause close to your heart; volunteering in an industry you ™d love to pursue a career in after graduation (anything from fashion, sport, music or film to health, social work or environmental studies); or finding a role that allows you to put into practice or expand on skills you ™ve learnt in class. Although you won ™t be paid for your work, you may find benefits in other forms ” things like free food, tickets or merchandise.

Where can I look for volunteer roles?

Your education provider is a great resource to help you find potential volunteering opportunities. This includes opportunities for volunteer work on campus, as well as with affiliated organisations or charities. Some institutions may post volunteer roles on their careers website; others may email students when opportunities arise. If you have a particular organisation, event or charity in mind, you may choose to contact the organisation directly through their website. There are also a number of websites dedicated to finding volunteer placements (see below).

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