Interested in volunteering during your time in London as an international student? Here’s everything you need to know about volunteering in London – including why you should volunteer as a student, how to find the best opportunities, and some of the latest vacancies in London that are perfect when studying for your masters.
Volunteering during your masters is a great way to progress your career and enhance your learning. As an international student, you want to make the most of your time in London and soak up everything the city has to offer. Volunteering can help you do just that!
If you plan on applying for the UK Graduate Route after your studies, voluntary experience can make your CV stand out above the crowd. You’ll learn so many valuable skills – both professionally and socially.
But volunteering isn’t just about ‘looking good’ for employers. It can be highly rewarding and a brilliant way of making friends in the city. It can even help you decide your future career path!
Tips On How to Find Volunteering Opportunities
1. Decide what you’re interested in
When you start looking for voluntary positions, you could end up overwhelmed by the choice available.
Before you start browsing, decide what interests you, what skills you want to learn, and how much time you have. This will make your hunt for the perfect role easier.
2. Update your CV
Even though volunteering is all about developing your skills and giving back, organisations will want to know whether you’re the right person to help them. They won’t usually have an interview process, but they may ask for your CV.
For quicker results, update your CV before you start applying. Make sure you highlight your current skills, interests and career goals, as this will help people get to know you.
3. Sign up to a volunteer centre
London is full of local volunteer centres that can help you find the perfect role. Once you sign up, you’ll usually be invited to chat about your interests and goals. Then, your dedicated researcher will help find a voluntary job on your behalf.
As new opportunities arise, they’ll share these with you promptly, so you never miss out. If you’re looking for something specialist, they may even work with local businesses to help create a role for you.
4. Search online
Most organisations will advertise their volunteering opportunities online. Check company websites or reputable job boards regularly to find local voluntary roles, like London Volunteering Portal, Do It, or LinkedIn.
To save time, sign up for email alerts so you get notified when a job that matches your criteria is posted.
5. Reach out to local businesses
You can often find voluntary roles at charity shops, scout groups, local hospices, environmental groups or even start-ups. But these roles might not be advertised online.
Visit local venues to see if they have an opening, or reach out to an organisation via email. If they don’t have a role available, they may be willing to create something for you.
6. Ask the university careers team
If you need support, check in with your university’s careers team. They can help you get started with identifying your strengths, skills and interests. They can even help you target your search towards voluntary roles that will help you in your later career.
At UWS, contact the Hub for careers advice.
Types of Volunteering Roles
There are also lots of common volunteering opportunities that you can expect to find in London. You could get involved in:
You’ll usually find retail roles in local charity shops. You could get involved in:
- Sorting donations
- Pricing goods
- Creating window displays
- Managing the till
Volunteering roles that link to administration are usually found at charities, but you may find these jobs available at schools, social groups or libraries. The type of volunteering roles include:
- Personal assistant
- Diary manager
- Public relations advisor
- Library assistant
If you love animals, you’ll find various volunteering roles at local vets, wildlife sanctuaries or farms. You could get involved in:
- Dog walking
- Cat sitting
- Nursing injured animals at a wildlife trust or sanctuary
- Cleaning out farm pens
IT and digital marketing
If you’re studying for a masters in IT or digital marketing, you may be interested in a volunteering role that links to your field of study, like working for a charity as a:
- Web developer
- Social media expert
- Digital marketer
- Fundraising for a charity, hospice or start-up
Sports / activities
If you love sports, you can get involved in gameplay for a good cause! Charities and social groups (like Scouts clubs) are always on the hunt for active volunteers. You could volunteer as a:
- Football coach
- Cyclist group leader
- Group leader for a Scouts club
If you’re interested in giving up your time to support older people, people with disabilities or the homeless, you could volunteer for a health and social care charity, or a homeless shelter, as a:
- Food shopper
If you’re passionate about helping the environment, a volunteering role for a local council or environmentalist group may be the perfect choice for you. You could get involved in:
- River clean-ups
For experience in youth work, schools, colleges and youth centres are often searching for volunteers to help with things like:
- Youth mentoring (e.g. for young people, refugees, migrants and young people with disabilities or mental health issues)
- Enterprise advisory
Volunteering Opportunities in London
Here are some ongoing volunteering opportunities in London that relate to education, IT, digital marketing and sports that you may find interesting.
IT and digital marketing
Social Media Expert for Willesden Green Town Team – If you’re interested in digital marketing, this role gives you the chance to create content and launch a brand-new website. You’ll get to collaborate with local businesses and implement a marketing plan. Plus, you’ll be mentored by a professional.
- Available eight hours per week
- Able to work remotely
SquareSpace Specialist for Solidarity Sports – If you’re an expert in SquareSpace, you can help update and maintain a website for a charity that supports children recovering from trauma. You’ll be helping raise awareness and funds for the cause, while gaining experience in web design, IT and administration.
- Available two hours per week
Educational mentor for refugee and migrant young people – If you love teaching (or just giving back), you can help build confidence, social skills, and English-speaking abilities amongst young refugees or migrants. It’ll be a rewarding experience and a great way of growing your skills in youth work, mentoring, listening and teaching.
- Available one hour per week during term time at 3pm
Enterprise Advisor at a local secondary school, FE College, PRU or SEND school – If you love research, you can participate in meetings and help develop a programme of talks from employers across London. This is the perfect co-ordinating role that will boost your skills in collaborating, research and working with young people. Plus, you’ll be helping promote non-traditional career paths amongst young people.
- Available for one meeting every half term (minimum 3 days per year)
- Available for follow-up actions after meetings
- Able to commit to at least one academic year
Ride Leader for The Single Homeless Project (SHP) – If you love to cycle, do it for a good cause! This homeless charity is on the hunt for an active volunteer to lead a 90min-2hr group cycle around Islington. You’ll have the chance to coach, motivate and build rapport with SHP clients. Plus, you’ll be helping to break down the barriers between homeless people and access to physical activity.
- Available at least 90mins per week to lead/co-lead a group cycle in London
- Able to commit to at least six weeks
Football Coach for Single Homeless Project – If football is your hobby, you can provide free exercise for homeless people living in a London hostel. You’ll be boosting people’s chances of recovery through improved self-confidence, physical health and mental wellbeing.
- Available 1-2 hours per week
- Able to commit to at least six weeks