European Voluntary Service Programme

Would you like to volunteer in a funded volunteer programme in Europe for up to 12 months?

European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people (18-30 years) the opportunity to volunteer in another country, either within or outside the EU. The EVS programme is funded by the European Union as part of their official Youth Programme, it aims to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people and to promote active citizenship.

You will receive free accommodation, food, insurance and a small personal allowance. The only thing you might have to pay is a very small part of your travel costs. Support for language learning is also available.

Projects last from 2 weeks up to 12 months, they can be individual or group projects. As a volunteer you can work in a wide range of fields, such as youth, children, disability, environment, arts and culture, animal welfare, and development cooperation.

A successful EVS project requires close co-operation between the sending and receiving organisations and the volunteer. VSI has been accredited by Leargas, the national EU agency in Ireland, as an EVS coordinating, sending and receiving organisation and we have many years’ experience of sending EVS volunteers. We support volunteers at all stages of an EVS project:

  • Providing info - you can contact us and talk to us over the phone or we can meet with you to give you more info, please use the contact details below to arrange this.
  • Support with finding and applying for a project - register with VSI as your sending organisation and we will get in touch with you to support you finding a project, complete the EVS Volunteer Application Form Also, see 'Find a project' below for links to our current exclusive vacancies, EVS projects database and other useful links.
  • Preparation/pre-departure training – VSI provides a thorough and comprehensive preparation programme to our EVS volunteers. This includes info on your EVS project and host organization, roles and responsibilities, understanding the EVS programme, what to expect and what to bring, insurance info and registration, finances and budgeting, visas/work permits, intercultural learning and dealing with culture shock.
  • Support during the project – once registered with VSI as your sending organisation VSI will keep in regular contact with you at all stages, including during the project placement.
  • Debriefing, evaluation and ‘next steps’ after the project.

At the end of your EVS period, you can receive a certificate confirming your participation and describing your project – the Youthpass

Find a project

There are different ways to find an EVS project.

  • Have a look at VSI’s current vacancies. These are projects that VSI has arranged with our partners. VSI is the only organisation in Ireland that is recruiting volunteers for these projects.
  • VSI can help you to find a project and we can also help arrange a more tailor-made project for you, complete our EVS Volunteer Application Form or contact us for more info.
  • Search the EVS Volunteer Projects Database - Many – but not all - current vacancies are listed here.
  • Find EVS is a website set up by former EVS volunteers to assist people finding a suitable EVS project. They list projects seeking EVS volunteers.
  • EVS page on Facebook.
  • You can also search the EVS Organisations Database - All accredited EVS hosting and sending organisations are listed here; they may not have a current project available but you can look them up and check when they are next recruiting.

Organisations select the volunteers that they would like to host based on the interest, motivation and enthusiasm that the volunteer will bring to the project. You are not expected to have qualifications or experience in any particular area and you cannot be excluded because you don't have them.

Application process

You may apply directly through VSI or through the projects database, either way, follow the instructions in the project description, usually it’s similar to applying for a job and you will need to send them your CV and a motivation letter, some will ask you to complete an application form, sometimes with a section for you to forward to your sending organisation to complete. If the receiving organisation feels that you would be suitable for the position they will usually contact you to arrange an interview via Skype. Please let us know if you are invited for an interview.

Once you are selected, VSI and the EVS hosting organisation will start the formal process and we will be in touch with you to begin the preparation.

It usually takes a few months between finding a project, being accepted and starting so start your project search as early as possible.

Organisations select the volunteers that they would like to host based on the interest that the volunteer brings to the project. You are not expected to have qualifications in any particular area and you cannot be excluded because you don't have such qualifications. In the end, however, the organisation will select the volunteer(s) it will work with so it is important to select a project that you are genuinely interested in. You should also take care to make it clear to potential hosts that you are very interested in their work and would like to contribute to the organisation.

Preparation

Our staff will meet with each volunteer and organise an appropriate preparation and orientation programme for all aspects of their volunteer project. In addition, EVS Volunteers join in on-arrival training and mid-term training (if your project is 6 months or more in duration) in your host country.

To register with VSI as your sending organisation tell us a bit more about yourself and complete the EVS Volunteer Application Form

IMPORTANT: In general, an individual can take part in only one EVS, and the maximum total duration is 12 months. There is an exception to this if the volunteer takes part in a group EVS project up to 2 months but this would be arranged specially, contact us for more info. Also, if someone would need extra help to volunteer on the EVS programme, for example if you left school early or if you have a disability, then it’s possible to take part in 2 EVS projects, up to a total of 12 months. If you would like to take part in an EVS and think that you would need extra help you can contact us to discuss it privately, please contact Mateja: projects@vsi.ie, or talk about it with your youth worker.

Like to find out more?

Stories from some of our EVS volunteers: (scroll down to European Voluntary Service).

Info from Leargas, the Irish National Agency for EVS: http://www.leargas.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/EVS-Volunteers-Promo-Flyer-Online-Version1.pdf

VSI are here to help you at any stage of the EVS process, please do contact us with any questions and for any support!!

E-mail: projects@vsi.ie

Office: 01 855 1011