Who can volunteer?

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

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.

Professional skills and experience

Requirements do vary, but you will typically need:

  • a minimum of two years' professional experience
  • an official qualification, such as a degree, to help secure your work permit
  • to pass a medical check and a criminal record check
  • requirements do vary, but generally to be aged between 28 and 68 
  • 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.

Next steps

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What skills do volunteers need?

It’s vital you’re experienced in your professional field and able to train and advise colleagues in your area of expertise.