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Volunteering and Gap Years for Engineers

Volunteer workerA gap year can be a fantastic opportunity to get some work experience – and to make a positive difference in the world. Find out how with this guide.

UK Gap Years

Year in Industry

Volunteering isn’t the only option for an engineering gap year. The Year in Industry scheme can help you to find work experience in your year out – and you might be able to boost your bank balance as well. Take a look at our guide to engineering work experience to find out more.


Although it’s might be easier to find engineering-specific opportunities through a year in industry, volunteering in the UK can still be an option for your gap year. Community Service Volunteers (CSV) can help you to find a full-time placement that suits your skills and interests.

Remember that you don’t have to do just one thing for the whole year: mixing different things can help you to get a broader range of experience and learn more about your interests.

International Gap Years

Voluntary work overseas is one of the first things many people think of when considering a gap year. Many gap year projects involve engineering-related work, such as building; however, most are directed towards general volunteers and might not take full advantage of your engineering interests.

Although many overseas gap year projects aren’t designed to take advantage of particular skills, they can still be a valuable experience. Anything that involves learning another language could be particularly helpful, as engineering is a global industry which often involves international cooperation.

For more information about taking a gap year abroad, try our gap years articles.

Volunteering without a gap year

You don’t need to take a year out to get involved in volunteering. You could also take advantage of summer schemes, or more regular projects. For example, getting involved with an Engineers Without Borders group can be a great way to use your engineering knowledge to help people, and will help you to find out about more ways to volunteer your time.

You can also find volunteering opportunities on online directories like Do It, CSV or CharityJob.

Non-engineering voluntary work

Remember that volunteering doesn’t have to be specifically engineering-related to be valuable. Any voluntary work can provide useful experience, help you meet new people and add to your CV. Take a look at our guide to volunteering to find out more.