You'll need a mixture of professional and soft skills to volunteer with VSO. Most importantly, you'll need to be flexible, sensitive to the needs of others and good at problem solving.
To become a VSO volunteer, it’s vital you’re experienced in your professional field and able to train and advise colleagues in your area of expertise. You need to be prepared to work creatively, often with few resources. If you’ve yet to accumulate the required experience, but are between 18 and 25, you might like to try our new youth volunteering programme VSO ICS
There are some basic requirements you will need to fulfil in order to volunteer with VSO. You must:
- have a minimum of two years’ experience in your field, gained in the last five years, in a skill area where we have roles available
- most countries also need an official qualification (usually a degree) to secure a work permit
- be ready to volunteer within the next 18 months.
The basic requirements may vary depending on the skill area, role length and the requests we receive from our overseas partners. Please check our opportunities page for more information.
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
pass our medical clearance requirements and criminal records checks
share your experience and promote VSO when you return.
Other skills required
It’s not all about hard skills. Volunteers also need a particular set of personal qualities if they are to be effective.
Flexibility, self-assurance and a flair for problem solving are all key-attributes. You’ll also need to work well in a team and be sensitive to the needs of others.
Most volunteers need a desire to help others learn. Although it might often be quicker to simply do a task yourself, in many situations your objective will be to teach people to do it instead, which will have a much greater impact.
Don’t worry if you haven’t had an opportunity to use these qualities recently, or if you’re not sure where your strengths lie. That’s why we run assessment days where we can get to know you better and understand what you could bring to a placement.
We ask volunteers to contribute to the costs of their placements by doing some fundraising. This process has a double impact for us: it provides much-needed cash to keep our overseas programmes in action, and it also presents an invaluable opportunity to raise VSO’s profile in the community. By asking people to support you, you’re also introducing them to VSO and the unique way we work.
Don’t worry if you’ve never fundraised before. We’ll give you fundraising advice, support and resources and run a fundraising workshop to help you along.