Getting Voluntary Experience
First: as a Union, the NUS does not support employers to exploit students through ‘unpaid internships’. If you’re regularly required to work more than you’re willing for no pay to gain a reference, or the vague prospect of paid work later, we’d want you to get advice. If you’re being treated as an employee, we’d expect you to be paid like one. And volunteers should not be used as a substitute for paid workers.
We do support volunteering where it helps students to gain useful experience; where it enhances voluntary services (but isn’t used as a substitute for paid staff); and where it’s enhancing your degree, not an added burden. Our Students’ Union would not be able to work without the contributions of student volunteers at all levels.
As part of our support for volunteering, the Students’ Union can help you find volunteering opportunities through Volunteers Centre Greenwich. And you can use the Employability & Volunteering Toolkit to you can log the hours and skills you gain through volunteering, as well as skills developed through paid work, and work towards recognition and awards to celebrate your achievements. For further information, see http://www.suug.co.uk/volunteer/
If you want to find out about volunteer work where you live, try searching for local volunteering organisations on the National Association for Volunteer & Community Action website.