Young people urged to take volunteering gap year - skills and experience can enhance UCAS applications

Volunteering charity CSV is urging young people who aren’t ready to go to university, unsure of which course is right for them or want to gain valuable practical experience to choose a volunteering gap year in the UK.

Volunteering can be a great way for young people to gain relevant skills to enhance a UCAS application or CV.

Opportunities organised through CSV include befriending young people who are experience challenges in their lives, supporting homeless people in a shelter and helping people with disabilities to live independently at home, university or in a school.

"Some course tutors find UCAS personal statements crucial decisions on applications, so it’s important that you’re able to make yours stand out"

James Durant, UCAS Advisor

Thomas Jones, 21 from Hertfordshire, volunteered when he was 18, helping a young man with Cerebral Palsy to live independently in his family home for 6 months.

Thomas says: “I finished my A Levels but felt that I wasn’t ready to attend university. I wanted new experiences and different perspective on life before I embarked on more education.

“The volunteering opportunity gave me time to think about what career I wanted after university. I’m seriously considering going back to CSV to do some more volunteering, and then pursuing a career working with people with disabilities.

“I wrote down my volunteering experience in my UCAS application for university and I had 5 unconditional offers. I didn’t get great A Level results; I think the university course leaders were very impressed with my voluntary gap year.

James Durant, UCAS Advisor, said: “Some course tutors find UCAS personal statements crucial decisions on applications, so it’s important that you’re able to make yours stand out. Linking volunteering and leadership in extra-curricular activities to your area of study will strengthen your application. Along with writing about the course you’re applying for, universities also like to know the types of skills you have that will help you on the course, or generally at university.”

A ‘Gap Year’ with CSV lasts 6-12 months. Volunteers live away from home in local communities throughout the UK, and are provided with free accommodation, subsistence and travel expenses.

Notes for Editors:

1) CSV (Community Service Volunteers) creates opportunities for people to take an active part in the life of their communities through volunteering, training and community action. Last year 165, 666 people gave their time as volunteers through CSV. The charity trained 10, 287 people of all ages. www.csv.org.uk

2) Volunteers can start their 6-12 month placement at any time during the year. Full-time volunteers are aged 18-35 years. Young people are given the opportunity to actively volunteer on exciting projects supporting homeless people, socially excluded people, disabled and elderly people.

3) For more information about ‘Gap Year’ volunteering for people aged 18 to 35 call 0800 374 991 or visit the website www.csv.org.uk/gapyear to apply online.

4) For more information contact: Francesca Toma 020 7643 1418 / 07966 168686 / ftoma@csv.org.uk or Oliver Fry on 020 7643 1312 / 07855 456453 / ofry@csv.org.uk