DofE Volunteering


Never volunteered before? Don’t worry – your Students’ Union can provide lots of ideas, help and support to get you started, and to make sure you can complete this section of the Award.


So what actually is volunteering?

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations defines it as:

“Any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives.”

Your volunteering must not be done for a business, but can be undertaken for a charity or not-for-profit organisation.


How long should I volunteer for?

Gold - 12 or 18 months 

If you haven’t achieved your Silver Award and are a Direct Entrant at Gold level, you must extend your Volunteering or the longer of your Physical or Skills sections to 18 months.


What actually counts as volunteering?

The important thing is to actually be doing some volunteering – you may need to spend time learning & training to do your role, but at least three quarters of the time you count for the Award must be practical volunteering i.e. actually doing the volunteering itself.


What to do in four simple steps

Preparation: You need to research what you want to do and agree it with your Leader. The Students’ Union works with over 60 voluntary organisations to provide lots of volunteer opportunities for our students so make sure you have a look at the volunteering section of our website HERE.  You can also source your own opportunity if you prefer. You must find a suitable Assessor and set yourself goals so that you can show how you progressed at the end. 

Training: Some activities you choose require you to take a course, simple introduction or training before starting. For the Volunteering section the training must not be more than a quarter of your time spent – you have to do something practical!

Activity: the most important and enjoyable bit – actually doing it! You must do each activity for an average of an hour a week for at least the minimum time required at your level.

Assessment: You can do this online HERE.

And then…..

You’re all set to start volunteering – good luck!

Volunteering Opportunities

Here at your Students’ Union we provide lots of different volunteering opportunities which you could get involved in as part of your Gold DofE Award. Please see our volunteering opportunities webpage to find out more. 

Don’t forget to log your volunteering roles, hours and related Employability Skills on your Skills Log

The International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln is providing excellent opportunities for DofE participants to complete Volunteering and Skills sections there. To find out more contact us at: [email protected]

New National volunteering opportunity with AAP Dimensions UK!
Dimensions are a charitable registered society who support people with learning difficulties, autism, challenging behaviour and complex needs and they are currently providing volunteer buddying opportunities. To find out more head to their website.

Employability Skills

Don’t forget to log your Employability skills on the Skills Log from taking part in this opportunity!
Commercial Awareness – in order to effectively dedicate your time to helping out a charity or organisation you are demonstrating that you have a knowledge of the work they do.