Who can volunteer?

Who can volunteer?

We welcome volunteers from most professional backgrounds, from healthcare to education, agriculture to engineering.

Simon Blankley in Uganda

To volunteer with VSO as a trained professional you’ll need both professional experience and qualifications. As a general rule, the more experience you have, the better.

We also have a number of opportunities open to young people aged 18-25 under the government’s International Citizen Service (ICS) programme

Professional skills and experience

Requirements do vary, but you will typically need:

  • between 2-5 years' professional experience
  • an official qualification, such as a degree, to help secure your work permit
  • to pass VSO's medical assessment and clearance process, and a criminal record check
  • to be aged between 25 and 55
  • to be ready to start within the next 18 months
  • to be available for a placement that will last from six to 24 months.

The basic requirements may vary depending on the skill area, role length and the requests we receive from our overseas partners. Please see individual job descriptions for full details.

Other skills

In addition to being a skilled practitioner in your own area of expertise, your placement will usually require you to share your knowledge with others. This means training and advising colleagues in order to provide a self-sustaining legacy that lasts long after your placement is over.

Don’t worry if you have little experience in training others, you will just need some confidence and willingness to ‘give it a go’.

Returned VSO volunteers also have told us that useful personal skills and qualities include adaptability, problem-solving and sensitivity to the needs of others.

You’ll also need to:

  • be willing to work for a modest living allowance and to live in conditions similar to those of local colleagues
  • be prepared to invest time in self-briefing and training before going to your placement
  • be willing to learn the basics of the local language of where you'll be working
  • share your experience and promote VSO when you return.