As part of the Careers and Employability Service our Volunteering Team works with over 140 local and national charities and we have between 170 and 200 opportunities available at any one time.

Our volunteering opportunities range from working in local schools to working with the local police service, local theatres, museums and hospitals (to name a few!). We also have four large-scale projects that we promote - the Reading Scheme, Code Club, STEM Learning and StudentWatch.

The information on this page has been broken down into five main sections and outlines FAQs and information depending on what stage you are at.

Volunteering web page

Interested in volunteering?

Volunteering for a Short-Term Placement banner

Questions about the application process

I've applied, what's next?

Recording your volunteering

If you have any queries please either visit the Volunteering Team in the Careers and Employability Centre or email us at volunteering@port.ac.uk

Interested in volunteering?

Interested in volunteering?

If you are considering whether or not volunteering is for you, the FAQs below outline some more details about the information and support available to you through the Careers and Employability Service.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

Getting involved in volunteering gives you the opportunity to:

  • Develop a range of transferable skills.
  • Experience a variety of working environments to assist you in discovering the right career path for you.
  • Network, meet new friends and boost your confidence.
  • Gain practical experience and working examples to support your graduate applications.
  • Receive a professional reference if you commit a significant amount of time and impress the organisation.
  • Importantly, to provide you with a break from your studies. Volunteering can also address the challenges that sometimes present when you come to university, for example homesickness, loneliness or other issues affecting your wellbeing.

What types of opportunities are available?

As part of the Careers and Employability Service our Volunteering Team works with just under 200 local and national organisations that range from local theatres and schools; to the prison service and the NHS; and community groups to social enterprises. The organisations we work with are all ‘not-for-profit’ and offer a wide range of opportunities to meet the needs and interests of our students.

We have had volunteers involved in:

  • Youth Support Volunteer @ Motiv8
  • Citizen Scientist Volunteer @ Capturing our Coast
  • Student Mediation Volunteer @ Portsmouth Mediation Service
  • Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline Volunteer @ Aurora
  • Front of House Guide @ The Mary Rose Museum
  • Vintage Retro Specialist @ Sue Ryder Care
  • Web Content and Social Media Volunteer @ Citizens Advice Havant
  • Hospital Admin Volunteer @ League of Friends, St Mary’s Hospital

Volunteering organisations  

All of our roles will engage with different members of the community in some way – be it children, teenagers, adults, those with disabilities and additional needs or working with your fellow students around campus.

What support can the Volunteering Team offer me?

As well as sourcing volunteering opportunities for our students, the team are able to support you with the following:

  • Discussing and identifying volunteering opportunities that may be relevant to your needs or interests – this could be to support the completion of a course unit; experiencing different working environments; or career planning.
  • Processing and managing applications to the organisation on your behalf.
  • Following-up with the organisation if you have not had a response within a 30 day period. Please email the Volunteering Team on volunteering@port.ac.uk if you have not had contact from the organisation.
  • Helping you to get your volunteering recognised on your HEAR.  Find out more on MyCareer.

How can I find a volunteering opportunity?

To make your search for the right opportunity easier, the Volunteering Team have broken down the opportunities into different sectors based on areas of interest. These are Adult Social Care, Business Support, Charity Development and Public Speaking, Children and Young People, Creative Arts, Criminology, Customer Service, Historical, Marketing and Events, Science and Environment, Sports, and Technology.

There are three main ways to source opportunities through the Careers and Employability Service:

  1. The easiest and most convenient way for you to access the information is to log on to MyCareer to visit our virtual Volunteering Bank, which offers the opportunity to search by sector or role title and complete your application(s) electronically.
  2. However, if you have any questions, we would encourage you to visit the Careers and Employability Centre itself where we host the physical Volunteering Bank and our Information & Employment Advisers will be available to support you. The Volunteering Bank houses role descriptions, which are broken down into the twelve sector areas. 
  3. We also host an annual Volunteering Fair in October, which provides you with the opportunity to talk to over 40 local organisations about their volunteering opportunities and how you can get involved. Make sure you keep up to date on this event via your MyCareer account and on our social media channels, so you don’t miss out!‌

Volunteering Fair 2017 post event

The support offered by the Volunteering Team is unique to students at the University of Portsmouth where our focus is sourcing local volunteering opportunities that match the needs and interests of our students.

The team offer a great, managed service, but we’re not the only way you can access volunteering roles. You can also check out the resources below:

UPSU - the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union through VIP (Volunteering in Portsmouth) offers opportunities to engage in one-off voluntary experiences, such as beach cleans or supporting community events. You can also get involved in fundraising activities through RAG (Raising and Giving).  

Volunteering webpage update 1

If you also want to source volunteering independently and/or when you head home during the summer, we recommend the following websites:

Do-it.org - the UK’s national volunteering database lists volunteer roles that are posted by volunteer centres, national and local charities and voluntary groups, making it easy for you to search opportunities to volunteer in your community.

Career Volunteer - delivers bespoke skilled volunteering projects aimed at professional and professional development for individuals with a range of organisations.

Can I use volunteering towards 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 important that you take the time to research which opportunities are suitable and are proactive during the application process, including contacting the Volunteering Team to discuss your placement/unit requirements. Please contact them on email: volunteering@port.ac.uk to arrange a suitable time to meet with one of the Advisers.

I am a Tier 4 International student, can I volunteer?

If you are a Tier 4 International student you will need to be mindful of the restrictions of your visa. If you are a Tier 4 (General student), you can undertake both paid work and voluntary work, but you must ensure that this does not exceed the number of hours you are permitted to work during term time.   

For example, if you can work for 20 hours during term time and have paid work for 15 hours a week you cannot do more than 5 hours voluntary work per week. Your visa will include details of your working entitlement and the visa ‘end date’ which you will be able to show employers.

For more information on working in the UK and your immigration restrictions, please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website and the UKCISA website.  

For further advice and support please either speak to one of our Information & Employment Advisers or speak to an Adviser at UoP Global.

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Questions about the application process?

Questions about the application process

If you have identified the volunteering opportunities you would like to apply for then the advice below will help you with the application process.

How can I find a volunteering opportunity?

There are three main ways for you to source the right opportunity for you - by logging onto MyCareer to access the virtual Volunteering Bank; by visiting the physical Volunteering Bank in the Careers and Employability Centre; or by coming along to the Volunteering Fair hosted every October.

Please refer to the first section of this page for more information.

What is the process for applying to volunteering opportunities through the Careers and Employability Service?

Once you have identified the opportunity you wish to apply to, make sure you carefully read the “How to apply” section of the role description. This will clearly outline your next steps. It will either direct you to fill in an application form or to apply directly to the organisation through their own application process. All applicants are also required to complete a registration form for the Volunteering Team.

Can the Volunteering Team support me in filling out my application?

Most of the application processes for the organisations we work with are very straightforward and only require the completion of an application form - some may ask you to outline your reasons for wanting to volunteer. If you need any help then please drop in to the Careers and Employability Centre to speak with one of our Information and Employment Advisers who will be able to assist you.

What happens once I have submitted my application?

Once you have submitted your online application we ask that you allow 30 days for the organisation to make contact with you. This is the same for those organisations where there is a direct application process. If you have not heard from the organisation after the 30 day period then please contact the Volunteering Team on email volunteering@port.ac.uk.

When the organisation makes contact with you they may invite you to an interview, or to an informal chat to find out more about you and to give you an opportunity to find out more about the work that they do.

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I've applied - what's next?

I've applied, what's next?

If you have already submitted your application, but have further questions then please see the responses to the FAQs below to help address your queries.

How can I let the Volunteering Team know I have started volunteering?

The Volunteering Team regularly try to contact students, either via telephone or email, to provide them with an opportunity to update us about their volunteering. One of the quickest ways of doing so is to complete our form here.

What should I do if I don’t hear back from an organisation about my application?

Please be aware that due to the diverse nature of the organisations we work with – many of whom are part of the voluntary sector – resources to process volunteer applications may be limited.

However, if you have not heard back from the organisation after 30 days then please contact the Volunteering Team on email – volunteering@port.ac.uk and we will liaise with the organisation on your behalf.

How can I let the Volunteering Team know I want to withdraw my application?

If for any reason you wish to withdraw your application then please let us know by updating your application status through our online form.

How can I contact the Volunteering Team with a question?

The Volunteering Team are based in the Careers and Employability Service on Guildhall Walk and although we are generally available to answer your queries, we are sometimes out and about delivering talks and meeting with volunteering projects and organisations.

Therefore, one of the best ways to contact us is via our email address - volunteering@port.ac.uk.

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Recording your volunteering

Recording your volunteering

Here at the University of Portsmouth we recognise the importance of students engaging in career enhancing activities, including volunteering, and therefore we have implemented the Higher Education Achievement Report - also known as the HEAR.

What is the HEAR?

The Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) is an electronic document providing a comprehensive record of your achievement during your period of study. The HEAR will not only capture information relating to your qualification, but section 6.1 will also contain the wider achievements you undertake on an extracurricular basis; such as:

  • Volunteering activities (either one off or longer term)
  • Students Union activities such as clubs and societies
  • Professional and Departmental Prizes Awarded
  • Committee Positions, Course and Faculty Representatives

You will receive two types of HEAR documents: Interim reports following the end of each academic year and a final report following graduation.

Each HEAR is unique to every student and recognises the range of accomplishments you have achieved.

To find out more about the HEAR please visit http://www.hear.ac.uk/

How can I record my experience?

The Volunteering Team are keen to hear about the volunteering activities you have undertaken whilst studying  here in Portsmouth.

We keep a record of any volunteering activities you apply to through our Volunteering Bank, so it is important you let us know when you commence your volunteering so we can include this in our Spring submission.

We are also able to verify the volunteering you source independently with a third sector organisation.

All you need to do is click on the volunteering button below and fill in a short form and provide evidence of your activities.


There are other departments within the University that also undertake HEAR submissions and we work closely with them to ensure your achievements can be verified.

If you have any questions relating to recording your volunteering, please contact the Volunteering Team on: volunteering@port.ac.uk.

When can I access my HEAR?

You will be able to access your HEAR documents at veri.port.ac.uk (details coming soon via email), and share them with third parties such as sponsoring bodies or prospective employers. This is a secure website which allows you to share your information with third parties. No data will be passed onto third parties without your permission.

The HEAR will be issued to all undergraduate and integrated masters students. Interim HEARs will be published during the autumn following each academic year and will include results for that year and achievements recorded during the preceding years. For the first publication, the interim HEAR for current second years will be published in December.

Following Graduation, final HEAR documents will be issued, which will represent  the definitive complete version published by the University for each graduate.

For frequently asked questions, please click here. If you have any questions then please contact the HEAR team on: hear@port.ac.uk.

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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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