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voluntary work in the UK

Spend your gap year in the UK

Working, volunteering and travelling in the UK are all great options for your gap year and could help to keep your costs down.
If you're interested in volunteering, you don't have to travel halfway around the world; there are plenty of charities in the UK that would welcome your help.

Spending some or all of your gap year in the UK is a good way to gain work experience, earn some cash and broaden your horizons while keeping your travel costs relatively low. If you’re interested in volunteering, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world; there are plenty of charities in the UK that would welcome your help.

Work in the UK and boost your CV during your year out

A year spent working in the UK will develop your skills, strengthen your CV and bring in some cash. Recruitment agencies will help you find short-term office jobs and you might be able to find paid temporary office work in a sector that particularly interests you, which will strengthen the applications you make for permanent work. Bar and restaurant work is another option. Warehouse or factory work is often available and unpopular shifts tend to pay quite well.

Test-drive your career with a UK work experience placement or internship

Arranging work experience or an internship gives you the opportunity to try out various jobs without long-term commitment, and find out what might be right for you. You could spend a week shadowing a family friend or do a six-month placement with a major organisation. Some employers pay a wage for placements and internships. If you are volunteering for a charity this may be unpaid, but expenses such as travel may be covered.

Gap year work at a UK holiday camp or adventure holiday centre

There are children’s activity centres all over Britain, specialising in adventure weeks for school groups and holidays for children. If you’re an active sort you could teach water sports or mountain climbing. Staff are also required behind the scenes – preparing food, cleaning, and in administration.

Gap year voluntary work in the UK

If you want to volunteer away from home but don’t want to go overseas, opportunities on offer in the UK range from environmental working holidays and living and working on a nature reserve as a volunteer warden to working with homeless people and providing respite care for children with disabilities. You’ll find a free database of national volunteering opportunities at the do-it website.

Volunteering Matters organises community-based placements all over the UK, supporting people in need and enabling them to develop their lives. Volunteering Matters provides accommodation and day-to-day living expenses. You could also research local charities and see if any of them need help. They might not be able to pay you, but you would gain invaluable experience and might be able to juggle volunteering with part-time work.

You could also get involved in a social action project via the #iwill campaign. It’s aimed at 10–20 year-olds and has a directory of organisations with opportunities. There are also ways for people aged 21+ to get involved, such as through supporting or leading younger volunteers.

Explore the UK during your gap year

You don’t have to go overseas to try living and working in an unfamiliar city or visit some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and exploring the UK will help you gain a clearer idea of where you want to develop your future career.