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Make a difference in the community

Volunteer for a local organisation and develop your employability skills

Do you want to make the most of your time at university? Are you looking for a way to make a difference in the community and learn new skills?

By volunteering, you can apply the knowledge you gain on your degree to a cause you care about. When you study with us, you'll get plenty of support to find a volunteering role you'll love.

Volunteering for a charity that matches your hobbies and ambitions will enhance your time at uni. It also improves your career prospects by expanding your employability skills and your experience of working in a professional environment.

Benefits of volunteering as a student

Volunteering while you're a student at university means you can:

  • Develop transferable skills and enhance your CV
  • Experience different working environments to help discover the right career path for you
  • Network, meet new friends and boost your confidence
  • Get practical experience in a role and examples to support your graduate job applications
  • Improve your wellbeing and give back to the local community
  • Apply your skills to the workplace and enhance your employability

If you spend a significant amount of time volunteering for an organisation or particularly impress an organisation, you might also receive a professional reference to support your job applications after you graduate.

Spending time volunteering can also help to address challenges you might encounter as a new student, such as homesickness.

Volunteering opportunities

Our Volunteering Team in the Careers and Employability Service supports around 100 local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations. These include local theatres, schools, small community groups, social enterprises, the prison service, and the NHS.

All volunteering roles we advertise allow you to engage with different members of the community, including children, teenagers, adults and other students around campus. We advertise opportunities related to marketing, criminology, technology, history, science, creative arts and more.

Places where you might volunteer

  • Charities that support young people to reduce offending, help survivors of domestic abuse or help people in conflict to resolve issues
  • Local museums, art galleries, charity shops and food banks
  • Charities that provide extra help to hospital patients, visitors and staff
  • Local schools helping pupils with reading, coding and other classroom activities
Volunteering as a student

CoppaFeel is a cause that is so, so important to me. I feel that the way that we raise awareness with younger women towards the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is something that a lot of women don't know about and need to know about and need to check on a regular basis.

Hi, my name's Sarah Murray. I am in my third year, currently studying English Literature and Media at the University of Portsmouth.

I got involved with CoppaFeel in my 2nd year of university. I became a PR campaigner and was really enjoying working with the charity so decided to apply for Team Leader this year. At the moment, I sort of manage my studies along with my campaigning – it's just trying to be really really organised. The good thing about CoppaFeel is they don't expect you to do a ridiculous amount. It's how much you want to do, so it is a very flexible charity to be involved with.

Working for a charity that is affiliated with the university has been amazing, you get to meet so many new people, get to talk to students on a daily basis. Overall it's just been a really good thing to do.

Before I came to the University I wasn't really aware of what you could get involved with. But that's why I think it's really important to go to the Freshers' Fayre in your first week of university. There you can meet the hundreds and thousands of societies and charities that you can get involved with.

When I finish university I hope to go into teaching, possibly teaching abroad or teaching English as a foreign language. Working for a charity that is affiliated with the University is a brilliant thing and I think employers definitely see it as a good thing. They see that you're not afraid to get involved, you're not afraid to work as a team. For me it's definitely boosted my public speaking skills and my confidence. So overall they are all key skills that employers look for.

How we can support you

The Volunteering Team can give you 1-to-1 support and guidance in the following ways:

  • Discussing and identifying volunteering opportunities that match your needs or interests – such as to support your work on a module, to get experience of different working environments, or to prepare for your career
  • Reviewing your CVs and applications before sending them onto the organisation on your behalf
  • Processing and managing your volunteer application
  • Supporting you throughout the recruitment process
  • Recording your volunteering on your Higher Education Achievement Report

Summer volunteering opportunities

You might want to volunteer before you arrive at university. Getting volunteering experience before you come to uni can look great on your personal statement when applying for a degree.

Talk to your college or sixth form to find out how you can get involved in volunteering or find out how to volunteer in your local community by visiting gov.uk.

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