European Solidarity Corps Volunteering Programme
Interested in volunteering abroad? Find out more about long-term, fully-funded opportunities in Europe!
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteering programme gives young people (18-30 years old) the opportunity to volunteer in their own country or abroad. The ESC is funded by the EU and participation is completely free. Volunteers will be afforded accommodation, food, and insurance, as well as a small allowance for personal expenses. Support for language learning is also available. The length of an ESC project can range from 2 weeks to 12 months.
ESC projects support local community and voluntary organisations in a wide range of fields. The programme is an initiative of the European Union, aiming to promote active citizenship and to develop solidarity.
All ESC projects involve sending and hosting organisations who cooperate closely with each other to support the volunteer during their project. VSI is accredited by Léargas, Ireland's national agency for the programme, as a coordinating, sending, and hosting organisation. We have many years of experience co-ordinating ESC projects, and do our best to ensure that all volunteers enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding ESC journey.
You can apply through VSI or through the ESC database, either way, follow the instructions in the project description. Usually this is similar to applying for a job and you will need to create a profile, upload your CV (check out the Europass CV template which is a standard form of a CV in many EU countries), write a motivation statement, and in some cases, some host organisations may also ask you to complete an application form. Some organisations will ask you to forward a section to your sending organisation to complete. If the hosting organisation feels that you would be suitable for the position they will usually contact you to arrange an interview via Zoom. When this happens, please let us know if you are invited for an interview and contact us if you need support with preparing for it.
The hosting organisation will you know if you are selected and we will be in touch with you to begin the preparation. VSI and the ESC hosting organisation will then start the formal process.
It can take 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, motivation and enthusiasm that the volunteer will bring to the project. You do not need qualifications or work experience in any particular area and you cannot be excluded because you don't have them. You should be motivated and 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 and the work they’re doing. In the end, the organisation will select the volunteer(s) who match best with the ESC role. Since ESC projects are mainly long-term full-time commitments, it is important to choose a project that you are genuinely interested in.
For more information on these projects, visit Léargas' youth opportunities information page.
Our staff will meet with each volunteer and organise an appropriate preparation, pre-departure training and orientation programme for all aspects of their volunteer project. In addition, ESC volunteers will participate in an on-arrival training and a mid-term evaluation seminar (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 by filling out our form.
In general, an individual can take part in only one ESC volunteer project, and the maximum duration is 12 months. There is an exception to this if the volunteer takes part in a volunteering team ESC project or in a short-term 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 ESC programme, for example if you left school early or if you have a disability, then it’s possible to take part in 2 ESC projects, up to a total of 14 months. If you would like to take part in an ESC and think that you would need extra help you can contact us to discuss it privately, please contact our programmes coordinator, Eiméar, or talk about it with your youth or social worker.
If you have already completed a long-term volunteering activity (longer than 2 months) funded by the ESC or former European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme, you are not eligible to participate in another long-term volunteering activity funded by the European Solidarity Corps. However, you can still participate in other activities supported by the Corps such as traineeships, jobs, solidarity projects and volunteering teams.
VSI are here to help you at any stage of the ESC process, please contact us with any questions and for any support!
Mobile/WhatsApp: +353 87 225 8424