Volunteer work, by definition, is classed as any form of work where a person willingly gives up their time and effort for free in order to help those around them. It comes in many different forms, whether that be offering a service, supporting people in need, or protesting for a better world. We all know the benefits volunteers bring to our society. What most people don’t know is how doing volunteer work could benefit them. Especially as a student, knowing how volunteering has the potential make a difference to your own life could persuade you to start helping others.
Keep reading to discover the top 10 reasons why volunteering benefits students who partake, as well as when Volunteers’ Week will take place in 2023.
What are the top 10 reasons to volunteer as a student?
Volunteering is an excellent, enriching experience for all people, no matter their age. There are endless reasons as to why you should volunteer as a student. Below are just ten reasons why volunteering is a massively beneficial experience, particularly for people who are still in school and university.
1. Students have the spare time for volunteering which adults may not
It is no secret that students have busy schedules. There are very few hours left in the day for most pupils in school and at university. However, whilst adults may not have as much work to complete at work, they must complete tasks like washing clothes, ironing and cleaning the house to name a few.
Not having to carry out household chores such as these frees up a little bit of spare time which students may choose to spend volunteering. This is an opportunity which gets progressively more difficult to fit in as you get older, so taking the chance to volunteer in your youth is a good idea.
Although students are usually very independent people, they are still not completely self-sufficient. Your parents will continue to supply you with necessities such as food, water and heat until the age 18. This means that although getting a job would earn some extra pocket money, it is not a necessity and so unpaid work is possible during your student years.
2. Volunteering gives students a chance to give something back
As a student, especially if you attend a state or other public school, your entire education will have been funded by the UK government. However, this budget is created through the collection of taxes in your local area. Therefore, the people in your local community have effectively paid for your entire education.
For lots of students, helping in the local community is a way to give back and say thank you to the people around them. By offering your time, it may not seem like much, but the adults in your local community around you will be very appreciative and will be further encouraged to help you out in the future, should you need it.
There is also the opportunity to make a difference in your local community if you think it needs it. For example, in towns which are subject to pollution, litter-picking for a few hours a week will create a nicer space for both you and others around you.
3. It can fit around your schedule
Students obviously have busy schedules, as has already been mentioned. However, the beauty of volunteering is that, unlike a job, the hours will be much more flexible. Every hour of every day, there is always someone in need, and so as a volunteer, you do not need to fit perfectly into a schedule. You just need to offer up an hour or two whenever you’re free.
Volunteering does not necessarily have to be a repeated experience either. Any centre needing volunteers would be very grateful for whatever time you can spare, whether that just be an hour every couple of weeks or a one-off day in the summer holidays.
Every little thing helps! It may not seem like it, but any work that you do will help to make a difference.
4. Volunteer work is available in all sectors
One of the main benefits of volunteering is that you can find opportunities in almost every sector. Although jobs provide you with a small source of income, the most common student jobs are in restaurant and supermarket settings. They teach general workplace skills but are not particularly enjoyable.
As a volunteer, you have the advantage of being able to choose where you would like the help out. For example, animal-lovers will flock to the dog shelters. On the other hand, those who enjoy organisation may like disaster relief in other countries or food banks closer to home.
Volunteering doesn’t require any experience so you can start to work in environments where you would not usually be allowed to. For example, a doctor must undergo years of training before being allowed into the workplace, but hospital volunteers can start helping straight away.
5. Volunteering is a great example of work experience
Work experience is vital for all students to acquire. It gives you a great taste of what a career is like and how to function in a workplace. Having work experience massively increases your chances of gaining well-paid work in your chosen career sector in the future.
Having work experience also allows you to prove your strong ambition and passion for the career sector, which employers like to see. For more information about the importance of work experience, read this article from UCAS or for more examples of how to do work experience, click here.
6. You can gain transferrable skills for the workplace and life in general
As well as being great work experience, volunteering allows you to gain workplace skills which can be applied in the future.
Future employers love to see skills like communication and teamwork which you can gain from volunteering. Even if you participate in volunteering which has no relation to your future career path, these transferrable skills are highly desirable.
On top of gaining expertise for the workplace, you’ll pick up skills for life as well. Things like commitment, gratitude and making good first impressions are all essential for navigating your way through adult life.
This article provides more information on the transferrable skills volunteering can provide, and some other options to gain these skills.
7. Volunteering looks great on personal statements and CVs
As has been said in the last two points, volunteering provides excellent work experience which teaches you essential life and workplace skills.
For this reason, volunteering looks really great on your CV in the future and your personal statement for university applications. It proves that you’re willing to commit to helping other people expecting no monetary reward in return.
8. You can meet new people through volunteer work
As a student, it’s natural that you’ll want to spend every spare minute when you’re not working going out with friends. However, if no-one is available, you may feel isolated and a little bit lonely.
By going out volunteering, you can meet new people and make more friends whilst helping other people in need. You might even find an opportunity for future paid work through networking with the people you meet.
9. Your mental wellbeing can improve whilst helping other people
Although volunteering is great for setting up future employment opportunities, it can also be excellent for your mental wellbeing. You will become more grateful for your own way of life after seeing those who aren’t so fortunate, and it may put things into perspective for you.
Working with other people who depend on you can be so good for your own self-esteem and confidence! It can prove that you can make a difference to someone else’s life, which is extremely rewarding.
10. Volunteering is fun!
There are lots of great reasons to do volunteering, but more importantly than anything else, it’s a fun way to relax. When choosing a centre to volunteer at, make sure that it is doing something you enjoy because the benefits will not ring true if you don’t love every minute.
When is Volunteers’ Week 2023?
In the United Kingdom, Volunteers’ Week is celebrated on an annual basis, promoting the benefits of volunteering. It helps people throughout the country to see how volunteering provides a great opportunity to improve the lives of others around you whilst also improving your own happiness.
The main focus of the week is to thank you to those volunteers who dedicate their time to helping others without expecting anything in return. However, it also promotes the benefits of volunteering and introduces some of the opportunities available for people of all ages, including students. If you are interested in volunteering in the future, Volunteers’ Week is a great place to start.
Volunteers’ week runs from the 1st-7th of June every year. This means that in 2023, the week runs from a Thursday until the following Wednesday. This article on NationalToday has more information about Volunteers’ week. Alternatively, you can visit the Volunteers Week website here to read more about all-year volunteering opportunities. There is also a student volunteer week that runs around February every year. To find out more check out this article by Think Student.