How do we recruit volunteers?
When a project is ready to recruit new volunteers, we will send a recruitment email out to everyone on our mailing list, notifying them that there are spaces available on that particular project. The email will contain details about the project, the nature of the role, the time commitment involved and a link to a short application form. Applicants must complete the form before the closing date stated in the email.
Completing the application form
The SVB application form is designed to be as easy to complete as possible. As we don't select people based on their experience (because that's what we're here to provide!) we look for applicants that can demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm for the project, are willing to commit for the expected duration of the project and can assure us that they will be able to attend all sessions or as many as possible to ensure the smooth running of the project.
Applicants should take their time to complete the application form and should take care to provide as much relevant information about themselves as they can. There is no word limit in our application form and a common mistake we often see is applicants providing really short answers and failing to communicate their passion for the work of the project.
You can also request to make an application in person with a member of SVB staff, if our application form is not accessible to you. Please email us for more information.
Another common error we find on our application forms is when applicants do not state clearly the role they are applying for. Please take care to state this clearly on the application form.
When do we recruit?
Recruitment for regular projects is mainly carried out at the beginning of the academic year. As there is a high number of projects and because we want to allow students time to settle in to life at university, we stagger recruitment throughout the month of October. Each project will send out its own recruitment email with details of their project, instructions on how to apply and a closing date for applications. Emails are normally sent out at a rate of two per working day, so as to avoid bombarding students with too many emails.
During recruitment periods we cannot give out advance notification of a recruitment email being sent out because we sometimes need to change our plans at short notice if our recruitment needs suddenly change. We appreciate your patience at these busy times. We also do not accept applications submitted before a recruitment email has been sent out and although it will look like the application has been accepted, it will not be forwarded to the Project Leaders for consideration.
What if I have missed the closing date to apply?
Our closing date for applications is final and we regret that application forms submitted after the deadline will not be considered. A growing number of projects however offer shorter terms of volunteering and some have unlimited volunteer spaces. In all cases, please speak to a member of the SVB team for more advice.
Most projects recruit again at the end of the academic year, to fill spaces ready for the new academic year in September. This can sometimes be the best time to apply as there are a lot fewer applicants.
What if I am unsuccessful in an application?
It is sadly, impossible for us to offer a place to everyone who applies to volunteer, especially on our more popular projects. Many people will not be successful on their first try. If you speak to some of our volunteers you will find that many of them were successful on their second or even third try. If you require feedback on your application, or if you would like some advice on how to complete the application form, you can always speak to a member of the SVB staff team by emailing us, or visiting us in the SVB Office.
General FAQs about Volunteering
What is the time commitment involved with volunteering?
Our projects operate on a range of time scales. Most projects operate on a weekly or fortnightly basis however some only require a monthly commitment. We also have a number of ‘one-off’ volunteering opportunities such as our Tea Parties, the Big Give and our Beach Cleans so you can do as much or as little as you want.
What is the length of commitment involved with volunteering?
Because most of our projects work with vulnerable people, it’s important that volunteers stay with us as long as possible. There’s no minimum time commitment with volunteering but we do ask that people consider carefully before applying that they are able to stay for the whole academic year if that is the commitment which is required. In many cases, especially when working with vulnerable people, service users will come to rely on your continued attendance at a project. Many of our projects are also oversubscribed and we will therefore only allocate places to people who can commit to a full academic year. There are however some opportunities which only ask volunteers to commit for one semester, please contact a member of staff for more information.
Do I need to speak Welsh to volunteer?
No, you don’t have to speak Welsh to volunteer. We’re always very happy to accept Welsh speakers though as many of our service users speak Welsh. Who knows, perhaps you’ll pick up some new words along the way!
Is it true that you interview people? Does that mean that only people with experience will get places?
Yes we do interview people but we certainly don’t allocate roles based on prior experience because that is what we are here to provide. Our policy is to interview prospective volunteers for all positions working with vulnerable groups. We also interview candidates when there are more people wanting to volunteer than we have spaces for. We look for people who are enthusiastic about the roles and are willing to commit for the whole year.
Will I receive training while I volunteer?
SVB deliver a number of training courses for volunteers throughout the year. We insist that all our volunteers who work with vulnerable groups attend a Safeguarding training session. We also deliver Volunteer Induction training where volunteers take part in Health and Safety and Manual Handling training before they start volunteering. In addition, SVB also offer a range of other training sessions and courses such as First Aid, basic sign language and Makaton.
Do I need to be DBS checked and will it take a long time?
If you’re going to be working with vulnerable groups, you must undergo a DBS check. It is free and will be carried out by a member of the SVB team at the Students’ Union. You must bring the original copies of 3 forms of ID with you when you come in to complete the form. Only certain forms of ID can be used, for a full list, please click here. If you bring in your ID and we complete the form correctly, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be returned within 2-3 weeks.
Can I volunteer for more than one project?
There’s no reason why you can’t volunteer for more than one project. When more than one person comes forward for a role, it may be necessary however, to allow the new volunteer to take up the place so as many people as possible get a chance to take part in our opportunities.
Can I volunteer over the summer?
At present only a few of our projects continue over the summer. We can however put you in touch with other volunteering projects, perhaps in your home town in the UK who would be delighted to offer you placements over the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays.
Do I need to find my own transport to my volunteering placements?
If volunteering projects operate away from the Students’ Union, in most cases we will offer a minibus service to transport you to your project. If a minibus or driver are not available, we will refund the cost of public transport tickets or endeavour to find some with a car who is willing to drive. In all cases, we will refund any out of pocket expenses incurred.