Should I use this process to apply for work experience?
No - work experience is managed separately to volunteering. For more information, please contact the centre you would like to host your work experience placement.
What age do I have to be to volunteer?
We consider individual applications from anyone over the age of 18. There is no upper age limit.
If you would like to volunteer and are not yet 18, we may be able to consider you for a limited range of roles, depending on the risk assessment for the role you are interested in.
Due to the nature of our work, nobody under the age of 16 is able to volunteer alone. You will need to volunteer alongside a parent or guardian who agrees to accompany you every time you come in, and signs up with us as a volunteer too. Again, the type of role available to you will depend on the risk assessment.
What’s the time commitment?
The time commitment for each role is set out in the role description. Most of the roles involve a commitment of a few hours per week. Some are flexible, but others require you to turn up at a regular time each week.
In order for you (and us) to make the most of your volunteer placement, we hope you will be able to offer a commitment of at least six months.
Will I need to have a DBS check?
Disclosure and Barring Service Checks used to be known as Criminal Records Bureau Checks. Some of our roles do require a DBS check. This is indicated in the role description and will be discussed with you during the application process.
I have a criminal record. Can I still volunteer?
We will ask you to tell us about any unspent convictions as part of your application. Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from volunteering with WWT, although it may restrict the roles we ask you to carry out. If you would prefer to have a discussion with a member of the Volunteering team before completing your application, please contact the Volunteering Development Officer for the centre where you wish to volunteer. You can find their contact details on the website.
I have a learning disability and I’m not sure that I could volunteer without extra support. Can I still apply?
Yes, of course. We will talk to you about your support needs and look at whether we have a role that would be suitable for you. We’re sorry but we can’t provide one-to-one support for individual volunteers from our own staff team, so you will need to identify someone who can volunteer alongside you every time you come in if you need this level of support.
I can’t get to a centre to volunteer. Is there any work I can do from home?
From time to time we have roles that can be carried out from home – these are highlighted in the role descriptions. They tend to be computer-based roles such as social media and design. Even if you carry out the majority of the work from home, we still ask that you attend your local centre occasionally so that you can receive support and supervision. Visits to the centre also help you to get to know the team you are a part of.
I can’t see a suitable role on the website.
We regularly update the website with our current opportunities, so please visit again if you don’t see what you want on your first visit. You can also sign up to receive alerts when new opportunities become available.
Do you provide references for volunteers?
Yes, we do. We recognise that many people join us to gain skills and experience that will help with finding paid employment or developing a career, and we are happy to support these aims by providing references on request.
What benefits will I get from volunteering?
We organise social events for our volunteers as a way of saying ‘thank you’. We offer training and access to talks by experts in birding, conservation and other related areas. Our volunteers receive the same discount as staff in our shops, restaurants and coffee shops on the days they volunteer, and free entry to our centres on presentation of their identity cards. As well as the benefits we offer, you may also find that you learn new skills, make new friends, have fun, and have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a valuable contribution to a worthwhile cause.
Will I get training?
We provide any training you need to carry out your role, and a full induction into the role and the organisation.
Can I claim expenses?
We reimburse any out of pocket expenses that you incur while you are at the centre where you volunteer, provided they have been pre-agreed with the person who oversees your volunteering activities. We don’t pay expenses for travel to and from the centre you attend to carry out your volunteering activities.
I work full-time. Can I still volunteer?
Of course. We have some centre-based volunteering opportunities that take place at the weekend, and there are also roles that you can carry out at home. The search facility on the website enables you to search for opportunities that take place outside of office hours.
I’m not quite sure what to put in the application form. Where can I get guidance on making my application?
Your local volunteer centre should be able to help you complete the form. Alternatively, there are some basic guidance notes here.