5 What is ‘voluntary work’?
Voluntary work is unpaid work, usually carried out in your own time. Some volunteer organisations may pay expenses, but you give your time and skills for free. It differs from work experience in that it usually offers many more options for patterns of work. Whereas, work experience may be a full time commitment for a defined period of time, such as a week or a month, voluntary work is more often part-time and can be a long-term commitment on both sides.
It is important to remember that getting involved as a volunteer is a commitment as your colleagues will rely on you. So, even if the work is unpaid, you should expect to take your responsibilities seriously.
There are many reasons why people choose to take on voluntary work. Sometimes it is out of a desire to help others and a belief that you get most out of life when you are involved with and contributing to society. This is not the only reason to consider volunteering. For some, volunteering will be about gaining something personally to help achieve their career aims.
You’ll see what the benefits of volunteering are in the next section.