The European Solidarity Corps is a chance to bring change while feeling part of something positive and developing skills. Activities could be in the UK or across Europe, volunteering or work experience. What’s more, you can get some financial support while taking part.
You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. You must also complete the project before you turn 31.
You must be legally resident in or have the nationality of one of the European Union Member States. Volunteering Projects are also open for young people from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and countries neighbouring the EU.
Registering on the European Solidarity Corps portal is easy and quick. The portal works as a matching tool between organisations who are looking for potential participants and people like you. You will be able to submit preferences to find the right cause for you, whenever it suits you.
When registering, you will be asked to provide your personal data, specify your areas of interest, which countries you would like to go to, and to choose whether you are signing up to volunteer, or for occupational activities (work practice), or both. Once registered, you may be contacted by participating organisations which are offering vacancies/volunteering activities (either as host organisations or intermediary organisations) and are interested in your profile. You may be asked to provide additional information (e.g. CV, language competence, educational background, motivation). Organisations may decide to carry out a preselection of candidates and decide to carry out distance or physical interviews, at their own expense, to decide on the recruitment.
To make the process as easy as possible, you can sign up using a social media account, or you can create an account with EU Login.
The European Solidarity Corps is the pool of young people who register their interest to take part in solidarity-related projects, and who agree with and will uphold the Mission and Principles of the European Solidarity Corps.
When you register, your details will be held in the European Solidarity Corps system, and organisations will be able to search the database for people for their projects. Organisations will then ask selected participants to join these projects.
The European Commission will invite organisations to apply for funding or other support for projects which fit with the Mission and Principles of the European Solidarity Corps. After their projects are approved, these organisations will be able to access the pool of participants to select young people that could be best suited to join the project. The organisations will then contact the potential recruits and make a final choice.
All organisations will undergo checks before they are authorised to run projects for the European Solidarity Corps, and before they are allowed to search for and recruit participants for their projects.
Depending on the type of project, and your existing knowledge and experience, you may receive training from the European Solidarity Corps before starting the project.
Don’t want to wait for a placement with an organisation? The power is in your hands. Young people registered on the portal can create activities themselves, known as Solidarity Projects.
Once you are registered on the European Solidarity Corps portal, you can find a wide range of opportunities posted by various organisations across Europe.
Social action is at the core of the European Solidarity Corps, so expect to find projects with exciting ways to make a difference. For example, you could get involved in environmental work in forests, support refugees to resettle or bring improvements to a small village. There’s more – European Solidarity Corps projects can also relate to inclusion, democratic participation, disaster prevention, health and wellbeing, education. The list is long and keeps growing with more funded projects every year.
Placements are full time, but duration can vary. You could spend a whole year abroad, but there are also opportunities for shorter placements, starting from two weeks, if that suits you more.
Have a look at the list of the project types the European Solidarity Corps could support.
The difference between the Volunteering and Occupational parts of the European Solidarity Corps
The European Solidarity Corps brings together two complementary strands: volunteering and occupational activities.
- Volunteering in a European Solidarity Corps project means being involved in the daily work of an organisation in the form of community-level projects, in the UK or abroad. Your participation can be individual (known as Volunteering Placement) or in a group (called Volunteering Teams).
- The exact destination, duration and type of placement will depend on the project you get involved with. Usually, these placements can last from two to 12 months, but young people with fewer opportunities can have shorter placements, starting from two weeks.
- Volunteers will not receive payment for the work they do, but they will receive other support such as generally return travel to and from the project, accommodation, meals, medical insurance and a small amount of spending money to cover their day-to-day living expenses.
- Within the European Solidarity Corps, you can find opportunities for work practice or employment in the UK or abroad in a type of project called Traineeships and Jobs. This sort of activity can help you to boost your skills while helping communities, facilitating your transition into the labour market. Although a work experience, it includes a solid learning and training component which will help you to gain relevant skills for your professional, social and personal development.
- European Solidarity Corps Traineeships and Jobs will always be paid, in line with the national rules of the country where you will be working. If you are given a job, you will be expected to cover living expenses and accommodation from the payment received. Costs such as travel, relocation, linguistic and inclusion support, and insurance are covered.
- Jobs: A European Solidarity Corps Job is a full-time work practice that can last from three to 12 months. It will be remunerated by the organisation employing you. You will have a clear idea of what to expect before it starts, as there will be a written employment contract agreed in advance.
- Traineeships: A European Solidarity Corps Traineeship lasts between two and six months. It is remunerated by the organisation responsible for your traineeship. From the beginning of the experience, you will know what to expect, as there will be a written traineeship agreement. Traineeships do not substitute jobs and are clearly separated from voluntary activities.
Different projects require people with different skills and experience, so organisations have the option to recruit European Solidarity Corps participants as volunteers, workers or trainees.