Volunteering for a Short-term Placement

Not all of the volunteering opportunities we advertise are able to support placements or the requirements for specific units. This can be due to the resources needed to coordinate short-term placements or being able to guarantee the number of hours required. This is why it is very important that you take the time to research which opportunities are suitable and are proactive during the application process.

Things to consider:

When is it appropriate to begin applying?

Most of the organisations we work with are unable to defer applications and require a face-to-face interview to determine whether you are suitable for the opportunity. For this reason it is likely that you may need to have your interview and commence your volunteering experience prior to the start of your placement.

This gives you the benefit of being able to ‘hit the ground running’ and making the most of your time with the charity/ not-profit organisation. It is particularly important to consider this if you are applying for your placement over the summer period.

What are the requirements of the volunteering opportunity?

We endeavour to provide as much information as possible in our role descriptions (situated in the Volunteering Bank and online through MyCareer).

Please ensure that you consider the ‘Time Commitment & Training’ section which outlines information on:

  • Number of hours per week i.e. “4 hours per week on a Monday or Thursday afternoon”
  • Required length of volunteering i.e. “a minimum commitment of 6 months”
  • Training dates i.e. “mandatory training sessions run in October, January and May”

You must ensure that the role you are applying for can accommodate the requirements of your placement. Similarly, if the role asks for a longer time commitment than the length of your placement then you will be expected to meet the organisation’s requirements.

Think outside the box!

Focus on the skills you want to develop. Do you want to improve your communication skills? Maybe you have never shown your ability to problem solve? Or is teamwork something you are yet to demonstrate on your CV?

Be open-minded when researching what opportunities could give you the chance to display these skills - your placement does not have to be course relevant, but needs to be career relevant!

Take the time to reflect! Applying for a volunteering role is a competitive process. For this reason it is incredibly important that in your application/ interview you demonstrate:

  • Why the opportunity has attracted your attention
  • What skills and experience you could bring to the role
  • That you have researched the organisation
  • That you are dedicated to volunteering with the organisation to the best of your ability
  • What you hope to achieve during your time volunteering

Who can you use as a reference?

All of the application forms require you to provide two references. Your reference needs to be either professional, academic or a character reference (from someone with professional standing). Friends, partners or family members will not be accepted.

You need to gain permission from your referees prior to passing on their information as this could delay the application process. If you have any queries on this please contact the Volunteering Team via email volunteering@port.ac.uk

Is a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check required?

If a DBS check is required in order for you to commence your volunteering you will need to take this into consideration. The timeline for processing these varies which may impact your start date and therefore your ability to meet the hours required for your placement.

This is most common in roles that involve working with children or vulnerable adults.

Where possible, the Volunteering Team stipulate which roles require DBS checks. As you are undertaking volunteering for the purposes of academic credit, the host or organisation is entitled to request the University to cover the cost of the DBS process.

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