Working as a volunteer can be extremely satisfying and rewarding. Whether your chosen career is social work, social care or early education and child care, getting some experience is the best place to start.
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to work in social services, gives you relevant experience to put on your CV and gives you a recent reference.
The great thing about volunteering in social services is that you can decide where you want to do it, how often and how long for. Volunteering allows you to explore the idea of a new career without giving up your existing employment, you can fit it in to suit your existing commitments, even just volunteering for a few hours a week will give you valuable experience.
Where can you get started?
The most common opportunities for voluntary work are with voluntary agencies. Statutory bodies such as local authority social services/work departments may also have opportunities. The addresses of volunteer bureaux or councils for voluntary service are listed in telephone directories, public libraries and Citizen Advice Bureau.
The following organisations can be also be contacted for more information about volunteer opportunities:
Volunteer Centre Network Scotland: www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
The Volunteer Centre Network in Scotland is made up of 32 volunteer centres and helps people get involved in volunteering. The centres provide information about a whole range of volunteer opportunities in your local area and beyond.
National charities and voluntary organisations look for volunteers on a continuous basis. Their contact details can be found in your yellow pages or telephone directory. Some suggested organisations and opportunities are listed here:
The Children’s Panel: www.chscotland.gov.uk
In Scotland, panel members sit on children’s hearings and make key decisions about children that, in other countries, would be made in court.
Community Service Volunteers (CSV): www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk
A national organisation that helps place people between 16 – 35 in voluntary projects usually lasting four months to a year. Projects are available throughout the UK and volunteers are often placed away from their home area. All CSVs receive pocket money, meals, and if placed away from home, rent-free accommodation and return fares to and from home at the beginning and end of the project.
A website containing news and features on volunteer work and a database allowing you to search for volunteer opportunities by geographical area.
Project Scotland: www.projectscotland.co.uk
Project Scotland connects young Scots aged between 16 and 25 with full time volunteering opportunities.