This month has been an exciting and nerve-wracking time for students across the UK; those in Scotland received results for their Highers, and UK A-level results were released last week. Whatever your next move, whether you’re happy with the results you received or whether you missed out on the opportunities you had planned, we think volunteering is something everyone should consider.

For those considering a gap year, Full-Time Volunteering (FTV) is an incredible opportunity for people aged between 18 and 35 to undertake a life-changing challenge, living away from home for up to 12 months while supporting some of the most vulnerable or marginalised people and communities across the UK. Or if you’ve got less time to spare there are a range of shorter term opportunities out there.

Volunteering is your chance to unearth hidden talents, boost self-confidence, meet new people and change lives. Take it from our volunteers!

Volunteering can give you an experience that a job or UNIVERSITY can’t

The job market is competitive and work experience or a university degree can equip you with transferable skills, make you more employable and potentially increase your earning potential. But they are by no means the only options. Our volunteers often look to their voluntary roles to have experiences that they can’t access through other routes.

 Kirsty’s Story

‘Knowing that you’ve had that impact on someone’s life is amazing and isn’t something you’ll get at any 9 to 5 job.’

Ross’ Story

‘Volunteering as a befriender gave me a sense of satisfaction and reward that no desk job ever could – giving your time to someone who just needs a pal is an amazing gift, and one that a young person will remember forever.’

Jennifer’s Story

‘Volunteering Matters has given me a challenging but rewarding experience that university or a job could not provide me with.’




Our volunteers help thousands of people each and every year by sharing their time and talents, but volunteering can be mutually beneficial – our volunteers also pick up new skills, make new friends or even increase their confidence through volunteering.

Maria’s Story 

‘I’ve learnt how to communicate even more effectively and how to be patient with myself as well as others.’

Nicol’s Story

‘I would never have thought that I could ever have had so many lovely experiences from a bunch of Scottish children but now that I look back, I am sure that they have taught me more than anyone else.’

It’s brilliant for professional as well as personal development

Many of our volunteers tell us that they are looking for something ‘more’ or ‘different’ outside of their job or degree, but lots of volunteers also find that experience gained through volunteering can enhance their performance at work or in education.

Amelia’s Story

‘I ended up achieving a 1st in my degree and think that volunteering helped with that in part.’

Harry’s Story

‘Whilst I have been volunteering, I have been trying to develop my illustration practice. The support work and the creative work have often become entwined and I’m getting a lot of inspiration from it.’

Evelyn’s Story

‘I have established new skills which I know will continue to help me grow as I move on through my studies and eventually into my career within social services.’


But also isn’t just a means to an end!

Although volunteering can be a route into work for some, it doesn’t have to align with your current plans – volunteering is a great way of experiencing something new. Even if it’s in a different field to the one you choose to pursue, it can still equip you with new skills and inspire you.

James’ Story

‘Volunteering doesn’t need to be a means to an end, like fitting in with your career plan for example. It also can be a way to encourage you to find your own way, shape your own experiences, and to be inspired.’


When looking for the right opportunity, you may see something which looks up your street but you don’t feel qualified or confident in your abilities. If you find a role advertised but aren’t sure about training, check with the organisation to see if they provide support with this – it can really improve your overall volunteering experience.

Stephanie’s Story

‘The training was comprehensive, reassuring and really set you up for success.’

Ryan’s Story

‘When I first started volunteering on the project I was nervous about delivering the content and my ability to present workshops to an audience. Through training I was able to overcome this by getting all the information that I needed.’

We have an opportunity finder on our website, where you can enter your postcode and see what opportunities are available to you in your area run by Volunteering Matters.

If there isn’t a project that matches your requirements, there are plenty of other organisations that offer high quality volunteering opportunities to suit you!

  • is a platform where organisations can advertise for volunteers for free, and volunteers can search for opportunities.
  • Time Bank specialise in mentoring projects to tackle social problems.
  • Charity Job lists voluntary roles as well as paid third sector positions.

And for those of you who haven’t finished school yet, why not consider getting involved earlier?

At Volunteering Matters we also run projects specifically for young people. Our Positive Futures project for example is a youth-led volunteering programme offering fantastic opportunities for young people aged between 13 and 25 years old to make their mark on their community.

Aaron’s Story 

‘Volunteering is important to me because it allows me to get involved with new things and develop a range of skills that cannot be learnt in school.’

Are you ready for your revolution?

There’s volunteering, and then there’s Full-Time Volunteering (FTV). No one volunteering placement is the same. You could be supporting older people, homeless people, families, children or young people. You might be working within an environmental setting, or a residential one, or you could be undertaking sporting activities – we take care to match you to the opportunity that’s right for you. So whether you’re looking to leave your mark on the world, develop your skills base or devote a gap year to a cause you really care about, FTV is for you.

Find out more about being a Full-Time Volunteer