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volunteering as a route to paid employment

Services to connect people to employment opportunities

If you have been out of paid employment for a while it can feel like a challenge to get back to work.  It can feel even more difficult if you have experienced ill health or you think you’re still some way from being “work ready”.  Volunteering will help build your confidence, skills and can improve your chances of finding paid employment.

Part of your journey to paid employment

How can volunteering help you get paid employment?  By volunteering you can get relevant experience and build a range of soft and hard skills which will help you.  You may want to improve your team working, problem solving or communication skills.  You may want to learn new practical skills like operating a till, designing a website or working with children.  Perhaps you want to improve or update your IT skills, customer service skills or feel more confident when using the phone or speaking to new people.  By doing voluntary work you also get material for your CV and it gives you experiences that you can talk about at interviews.  It can help you get into the routine of work.

Volunteering can help you:

  • give you a chance to try out different types of work;
  • learn new skills;
  • update existing skills and experience;
  • boost confidence;
  • get content for your CV;
  • help you learn new skills; and
  • gain a reference to take to employers.

Importantly you don’t need to worry if you are currently on benefits.  You can still volunteer and the Department of Work and Pensions are fully supportive of volunteering as part of your journey to paid work.  You can read more about volunteering and claiming benefits by downloading the guide in the downloads box opposite (or below on a mobile device).

If you want to find out how this service can offer specialist help and advice to find the right volunteering opportunity for you please contact the team by calling 0131 561 8322 or email

Employability drop-in

Not sure if this service is right for you? Why not attend our Employability Drop-in?

At these regular drop-in sessions you will have an opportunity to meet with one of our Voluntary Work Coaches and we can also help with: creating and updating your CV; applications forms; searching for employment and volunteering opportunities; and contacting organisations.

Our Employability Drop-ins are held every Monday from 2.00pm until 4.00pm and you do not need to make an appointment.


Chat to us online using our new VolChat * service and make the first tentative steps towards employment.

Thinking of volunteering to improve your health and employability? Difficulty getting out of the house to access the right help? Whether it is childcare, travel costs or something else, VolChat Employability Coaching Sessions is a new online chat platform using Zoom® to help you engage and make the first tentative steps towards employment.

Here is a short film focusing on a selection of the projects that won funding via Joined up for Integration’s employability themed participatory budgeting project ‘Voice Your Choice’ which includes our new VolChat service (we feature 3 minutes 50 seconds into the film).


All without having to leave your house, VolChat gives you the chance to:

  • Meet us from the comfort of your own home.
  • Tell us what you are needing help with.
  • Find out how we can help.
  • Get quick advice on where best to get the help you are needing.

“The thought of being able to speak to you online completely removed the worry about bus fares.”

If you want to find out more about the service then please contact us by email at, text us on 07505 446 024 or phone 0131 225 0630 and we can explain how to setup your first VolChat meeting.

If you have received a VolChat invitation the video below should detail how to join the meeting. You can also find additional guidance here or by contacting us directly.


* VolChat is a pilot project created and delivered by Volunteer Edinburgh with support from Voice Your Choice Edinburgh, Community Choices Scotland, and the Scottish Government. VolChat © 2018, all rights reserved.