Doing unpaid work experience, also known as volunteering, can bring you great rewards. Work experience gives you the chance to learn new skills and improve those you already have. You will be helping others at the same time...and helping yourself build a better future. Many people have moved into new types of work on the back of the work experience they've done - and you can join them.

Choose the organisation or group you wish to help carefully. Make sure it does something you feel is important, something you feel passionately about. Make sure that the experience will improve your own chances of getting back into paid work.

What you can offer, what you can learn

Getting unpaid work experience is a win/win situation - you gain extra skills and the organisation gets someone passionate and committed to their work.

Your questions answered

Will my expenses be covered? Can I get work experience overseas? Will it affect my benefits? Read answers to these questions and more.

Advice on internships

An internship is a way to get paid experience in a professional field. If you're looking for advice on your rights as an intern, there is a short guide for interns and potential interns on what to expect from a high-quality internship, and what interns' rights are with regard to pay. It is produced by Intern Aware and Bournemouth University on behalf of the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum. It is also supported by BIS, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It has been developed as a supplement to the Common Code of Best Practice for Internships.

If you're a graduate you can search for internships on the Graduate Talent Pool website. Internships can give you the opportunity to build on the skills you developed at university, try your hand at an area of work, and impress an employer.

Ready to go for it?

Find out where to look for work experience opportunities and what to ask before you accept an offer.

How to find work experience