Volunteering Career Breaks


Miss doing a gap year and want to see more of the world?

Want to utilise and share your professional skills in a developing country?  

Looking to learn and develop from working and living in another culture?

Feeling like you want to get back to basics?

Bored in your role, bored in life – thinking about doing something different?

Need an extended holiday, but of a more meaningful variety?


All of the above are valid and frequently quoted reasons for taking time out to volunteer mid-career.

In practice you might be ………

  • a healthcare professional who wants to experience the public healthcare system in East Africa, or
  • a business professional who wants to use their commercial expertise for the power of good in a social enterprise, or
  • a secret conservationist, who wants to cast off their suit and go native in the rainforest, or
  • a great office manager, who would love to see more of the world while at the same time making an NGO more effective, or
  • a corporate lawyer, who wants to use their legal expertise in support of human rights, rather than industry, or
  • someone doing a job today, who has always wanted to be a teacher tomorrow, but been afraid to try

But once you are in a career it becomes harder to break from the security of an income and the accompanying lifestyle. We fear we might not get an equivalent job when we return from a career break, or worse we might scupper the chance of a promotion. And what about family and friends – we inevitably get more settled as time passes.

But life has a way of sorting itself out. Kismet.


Career breaks create new opportunities

Taking a new branch in your life can open up new opportunities and new insights. You may come back a happier and more energetic person; an improved professional; a more effective employee; a differentiated job applicant.

Working with inspirational community leaders

A career break doesn’t need to be a revelation, although it often feels like one. It might just be the breath of fresh air you needed to inspire you on to greater things. Whether you go back home to the same job or not, you will do so with new insights and a new vigour, brought about through a broader understanding of life, the universe and everything.

A working holiday abroad can provide ideas for new avenues of work, a refreshing change from the mundane and an opportunity to make a difference that you may not have in your current role.

If you are suffering burn out or disillusionment it might just be the activity that helps you re-balance your life.

And if you love your job then share your passion with others on a volunteering career break.


What career break projects can I do?

All of our volunteer placements are available to career break volunteers. You can volunteer in a role related to your profession, or you might choose a working holiday in a totally new area. Some projects require professional skills and qualifications such as the OT and physiotherapy projects. Other volunteer projects do not.

A number of projects are looking for professional help in key areas, so if you are looking to use your skills then here are some suggestions:

Career break projects for Physiotherapist

Career break projects for Occupational Therapists

Career break projects for Marketing and Business professionals

Career break projects for Administrators

Career break projects for Legal professionals

Career break projects for Social Workers

Career break projects for Teachers


How do I apply?

Look through the volunteer experiences on the website and choose a few projects that you are interested in. Complete an online application form to tell us about your skills, experience and preferences for a volunteering role.

We’ll organise a time to talk through those volunteer choices available to you. Once we’ve agreed on a recommendation we’ll send you a joining pack. You then provide a small deposit and confirm your choice of project, and together we start planning your placement.


Transferring and sharing skills

Can I bring a friend or partner when I volunteer?

There are projects that can take multiple volunteers, plus some locations with multiple projects meaning you can all volunteer in one location, but work in different projects.

Alternatively your partner might just choose to travel or holiday alongside you, and we can arrange accommodation and a flexible itinerary to get the most of your shared goals.


How long is a career break?                     

A career break can be as long as you wish. If you have professional skills to share then the projects will want you for as long as is possible. In reality, most career break volunteers will go for between 3-6 months in order to give and receive the most from this commitment. You can largely travel any time of year as the community projects run all year round, with the exception of teaching projects that will close for holidays at various times of year.


Can I be sponsored by my employer?

Yes. We believe that volunteering overseas can be an effective part of a staff retention and development strategy.

Making a difference

Volunteering abroad could be a relevant part of your professional development. Working in a developing country, seeing different issues and working alongside different cultures and communities might be an invaluable way of making you more effective in your current or future role.

Or if you are going to simply recharge your batteries, would your employer really rather lose you permanently, or give you some support with a view to you re-joining them when you return?


Career break volunteering opportunities for those working in finance, HR, marketing, business administration, and for qualified teachers, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social welfare workers are available in: