FAQ – volunteering

Click on the headings below to see the relevant questions or just scroll down the page to see the complete FAQ:

Eligibility and safeguarding

Commitment and support

Activities and schools

Eligibility and safeguarding

What are you looking for in volunteers? 

We’re looking for volunteers with diverse backgrounds and career paths from all jobs and sectors. Every job can be inspiring!

You’ll need to be over 18, based in the UK, and ideally have at least two years’ recent career experience to talk about with young people.

Is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check needed?

We do not organise or require a DBS check. This is because the school or organisation hosting the volunteering activity is responsible for compliance with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, including safeguarding, health and safety, etc.

The core Inspiring the Future volunteering activities involve you going into schools where you will be supervised at all times by school staff or participating in virtual interactive activities where school staff will always be present.

Can I sign up as an individual or do I need to go through my employer?

Yes, you can sign up as an individual. If you did hear about us through your employer, please let us know in your answer to ‘How did you hear about us?’

I’m a university student – can I volunteer with you? 

Inspiring the Future is all about sharing your career experiences so does not normally suit university students. There are some exceptions – for example, if you’re a PhD student, studying a degree apprenticeship, or returning to education later in your career, then volunteering with us can work really well.

Can I volunteer if I’m retired?

You can volunteer if you’re retired. However, we find that our volunteering is most relevant when you can share ongoing or recent experiences of the world of work, so it tends to work best if you’re a recent retiree.

Commitment and support 

How much time do I need to commit as a volunteer? 

We ask you to give as little as an hour a year, which usually means participating in one activity per academic year. Volunteering with us is flexible and light-touch as we know how busy our volunteers can be.  

If you can attend more than one activity a year, that’s great! You’re welcome to attend as many activities as you feel fit into your schedule. 

Do I need experience working with children?  

You don’t need to have any previous experience working with children to volunteer with us. All activities will be supported by school staff, and we have resources on how to talk about your job with different age groups. 

What support will I receive? 

Through our online platform, you’ll have access to your volunteer handbook and a wide range of guides, resources and training webinars to help you get the most out of volunteering with us. These cover all aspects of volunteering, from accepting an activity invite and communicating with schools, to delivering great activities.  

You’ll also receive ongoing support from our team at enquiries@inspiringthefuture.org who can help with any questions or issues you may have.  

Activities and schools 

Do activities always take place during the daytime?  

Activities mostly take place during the school day (9.00am to 3.30pm), as part of assemblies, careers fairs and classroom sessions, but some schools and colleges also have early evening events. It’s up to you to decide whether an activity works for your schedule – just accept or decline your invites as needed. 

Where are activities held?  

Activities are most often held in-person in schools, either in a hall or classroom, or online via platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Some activities like work shadowing or workplace visits may be held at the volunteer’s workplace.  

Do activities require a lot of preparation?  

Most activities focus on answering simple questions about your job, your career journey and what you do every day, so they do not require much preparation. You may also be able to utilise or signpost to resources from your employer or professional association about current career routes, such as Step into the NHS or Maritime Careers.  

You can always choose to join the types of activities that suit you best, whether that’s classroom chats, mock interviews or more.  

Which schools are you reaching?  

We reach primary schools through Primary Futures and secondary schools and colleges through Inspiring the Future. Our programme is free for all state schools who can register at any time to access our diverse pool of volunteers.

As a volunteer, you can reach primary, secondary and colleges by signing up to Inspiring the Future. 

Do you cover Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland? 

Although the majority of our activities occur in England, Inspiring the Future is available to state schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Volunteers can join us from anywhere in the UK, especially through participating in virtual activities.  

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