European Voluntary Service (EVS) is part of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, which offers people aged between 17 and 30 the chance to volunteer with a not for profit organisation in a European country for two to twelve months. Each year UNA Exchange coordinates the hosting of between 10 and 15 EVS volunteers on projects in Wales.
This gives community organisations the opportunity to host an appropriate volunteer who can bring skills, ideas and an intercultural dimension to their work.
Benefits of hosting an EVS volunteer
- Committed and enthusiastic volunteer who will work with you for between 6 and 12 months
- Bring someone who has a passion for your area of work into your team
- Gain new ideas, perspectives and different way of thinking about your work
- Provide insights into another language and culture
- Many volunteers come with knowledge of social media, communications and technology skills and other methods of supporting your organisation
- A team member with some time to explore new ideas and opportunities
An EVS volunteer should NOT be:
- A replacement of a member of staff/what would normally be a paid role
- A purely administrative project
- Dependant on existing skills and knowledge of the volunteer
- A language school
What should the volunteer gain from the experience?
- New knowledge, skills and attitudes with a view to improving their personal development and employability within the EU labour market
- Actively participation in society and develop a sense of European citizenship and identity
- Improvement of language skills
- Awareness of other cultures and other countries
- An opportunity to build international contacts and networks
- Reinforcement of links between formal, non-formal education, vocational training, employment and entrepreneurship
The projects are fully funded for the volunteer with all travel, accommodation and living allowance covered.
What is UNA Exchange’s role?
- Fulfilling the administrative and financial requirements of the programmes
- Providing training and support for hosts
- Providing ‘on arrival’ training, ‘mid term’ training and ‘end of project’ evaluation for volunteers
- Mentoring volunteers
- Organising accommodation, volunteer allowances and travel
- Supporting a network of volunteers through group events and social activities
Currently UNA Exchange is supporting 9 EVS volunteers on 5 hosting projects in South Wales:
- Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
- ASH Wales
- Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales
- Tanyard Youth Project
- UNA Exchange
How do I become a host?
1. Get in touch! Speak to us about your work and the kind of project you would be interested in creating and ask any questions. Email [email protected].
2. Get accredited – fill in the necessary forms and get approved as an official host by the British Council on behalf of the Erasmus+ programme.
3. Get your project approved – UNA Exchange will apply for funding for your project with the British Council. Deadlines are in February, April and October each year.
4. Select your volunteers – Projects in the UK are often very popular. You’ll have the opportunity to look at applications and conduct Skype interviews to find the perfect match. Again, UNA Exchange can help with this process every step of the way.
5. Welcome your new volunteer to the team!
N.B. In some cases stage 3 and 4 are reversed.
The next step is to read our more detailed guide to being an EVS host, talk to your colleagues about the idea and get in touch with us to discuss it. Email [email protected] for a guide and more information.
EVS is a fantastically rewarding experience as you accompany the volunteer on their journey while also making your own, both as an individual and as an organisation. We look forward to hearing from you.
Meet Angela, Maria and other international volunteers who took part in an EVS in Wales.