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    There is a lot of overlap in the sorts of opportunities you might look for if you are interested in either psychology or education/teaching. Some will also be helpful to do during your degree if considering further study, or to give you the edge for some relevant jobs. There will be some options that are more suited to one or the other, and these will be differentiated.

    Now, before starting this thread properly, it's important to point out that volunteering is NOT necessary to undertake volunteering or any sort of work experience before applying for a psychology degree, as this is an academic course. In contrast, it IS important for applying for a teaching course (that gives you QTS) as this is a vocational course. Another thing to note is that it is virtually impossible to get shadowing/work experience opportunities with any sort of psychologist: clinical, educational, occupational, forensic etc.

    Ideas for both psychology and education

    These sorts of opportunities can help you think about child development/psychology. For teaching in particular, it can help you consider issues such as planning, differentiation, explanations and behaviour management too.

    Volunteering in a school

    This is obvious for teaching, but can link to psychology too. Volunteering in a classroom is particularly useful, but it can also be good to do reading or something with students. Obviously if you are considering teaching as a career, volunteering in your preferred age phase (primary, secondary, FE) is better.

    It can be difficult to get opportunities to do this. It's best to contact the schools directly, and a phone call or even a visit may be necessary to follow up any emails that are sent. Unfortunately staff can be very busy and forget to reply. Some universities may have schemes to get students involved in volunteering at schools.

    You could also consider supporting in after-school clubs. For psychology, you could also consider volunteering in a school for children with special needs.

    Ideas more suited for education

    As above, these can look at child development and issues related to teaching.

    Volunteering in other extra curricular activities

    More relevant to teaching probably, but could be helpful for psychology too. This is things like Brownies, Scouts, football coaching etc.


    This could be something that is organised through your school (such as tutoring younger students in a preferred subject), a company that does tutoring, or something organised on a more ad-hoc basis.

    Ideas for psychology

    Volunteering/working with children with special needs

    Although you could do this for teaching too, it's more relevant for psychology. This can be done through playschemes (during school holidays), evening/weekend sessions (to provide parents with some respite) and sessional work (this is often 1:1 work, and may take place in the home or involve taking a child out into the community to do different activities). The latter is going to be a job, whereas the former two might be either working or volunteering.

    This sort of work is likely to be done through charities, but will probably be supported by local councils. Therefore different arrangements will be varied across the country.

    Volunteering for mental health charities

    This is also more likely to be varied across the country, with different organisations doing different things in different areas. You will have to check to see what opportunities are available in your area. This could involve working with children or adults or a mixture, potentially.

    Volunteering in a hospital/care home

    This is more relevant for those considering clinical psychology, as well as healthcare courses. It could involve things like talking to patients/people living in the care home, and doing general jobs to support (you should never underestimate the power of a cup of tea!)


    This is more relevant to those at university already, and will involve night shifts and talking (phone/email/instant messaging) to people who are having issues, such as depression and anxiety. This means it's not for everyone. However, training will be provided for those who wish to volunteer for either organisation.


    Again, more relevant to current undergraduates. There are likely to be opportunities to support a lecturer in their research, such as data gathering, transcribing etc. These are likely to be competitive, however!


    Any others that you can think of, or maybe you've done yourself? Any stories anyone would like to share about volunteering/work experience in any of these (or related) areas?
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    Just gonna bump this up so people can see.
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