Looking to volunteer?

Our doors are always open. Like other organisations and charities, we have a large and vibrant volunteer base.We have a proud tradition as a voluntary organisation.

Our volunteers are vital to us and give their time to make a difference in their communities.

Our roles

Volunteers are at the heart of our work, and arevital to supporting the growth of adult education across England and Scotland. From organising courses through our branches and Scottish local associations to supporting our learners in the classroom and helping to find and share good new stories from across the WEA.

We currently have around1,300 volunteers who take on a variety of roles for us.Our volunteer roles match your ̨swag, interests and personal development goals.

These roles include:

  • Branch volunteers, who arrange and promote local courses through our extensive branch network
  • Community outreach volunteers,who promote adult learning, particularly in disadvantaged communities
  • Classroom support volunteerswho help learners develop essential life and/or work ̨swag. They can also support individuals with specific physical or learning difficulties
  • Class secretaries and learner representatives,who gather feedback from learners. This ensures that our courses are meeting their needs, and we continue to improve our offer
  • Activists, who organise promotional and fundraising events for us, and
  • Volunteers who take on formal governance roles. Trustee's, board committee volunteers and local advisory panel volunteers all contribute to the governance of the WEA.

Click on the role titles below to see our current volunteer opportunities

Local Advisory Panel Volunteers

By joining a WEA Local Advisory Panel, you could play a critical role in helping WEA understand local need and do just that.

Many think technical ̨swag and higher education are the solution to their community’s challenges. But approachable, friendly education in core employability and community engagement ̨swag could just unlock the confidence, team-working, talent and interest of local adults and are just as important.

We believe in creating opportunities. You could help us understand and respond to the areas of greatest need local to you.

What we are looking for:

  • Passionate individuals: We seek individuals who are deeply passionate about the success of their local community or business and the importance of education to achieve this.
  • Diverse perspectives: We believe that the power of collective wisdom lies in embracing diversity. We welcome individuals from various industries, backgrounds, and cultures.
  • Expertise: We particularly value prior experience of WEA learning, but this is not essential. Experience in the following would be hugely valuable too: Work in the education, voluntary or public sector, business or commercial, fundraising or marketing, finance or law, HR or learning & development.
  • Collaborative Spirit: We are keen to recruit those able to work effectively within a team, listen actively, and constructively contribute to discussions.
  • Active advocacy: We are looking for people with an interest in forging meaningful and productive connections with community organisations, employers and local leaders to advance the WEA’s mission to bring education in reach.

Full role details, a list of Local Advisory Panel locations and the expression of interest form can be seen here.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity or receive any assistance with your application, please email [email protected].

Care 2 Publicity Volunteer

WEA have launched an exciting range of free online courses designed just for people with caring responsibilities. From virtual visits to stately homes to online health and wellbeing courses, our courses give carers some must needed self-care time. Care 2 Publicity Volunteers will help us to spread the word about courses to caregivers and former caregivers in the area that they live. Volunteers who join this project will be contributing to WEA’s mission to bring adult education within reach to anyone who needs it.

You will support the promotion of WEA activities using a variety of methods to engage people, embed yourself in the local community, champion the WEA to support awareness of Care 2 courses and the charity as a whole. With a toolkit and support provided by WEA you will plan your promotion and publicity of Care 2 courses in your local area. Manage the role around your own schedule to link in with local carer groups, community leaders, local charities, GP surgeries and places of workshop.

For more information and to express your interest in this role please contact us using the form below.

Board Committee Volunteers

WEA is seeking to appoint co-opted Board Committee members who have worked nationally in England or Scotland with recognised qualifications in one or more of the following fields:

  • Accountancy or audit; with experience of dealing with pensions or multiple funding /revenue streams.
  • Human resources; with experience of dealing with organisational development and change.
  • Education / adult learning; with experience of legislative, social, health and/or education policy that may impact upon WEA delivery in England and/or Scotland.
  • Finance; with experience across the financial section including asset management, investments and Financial Governance.
  • Scotland Board; with experience of working in Scotland in Education, sector funding, Governance and Regulation, Company or Charity Law as well as any of the above.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate their ability to operate at a strategic level and demonstrate the principles of good governance. Committees of the Board of Trustees apply detailed, specialist scrutiny to matters within their respective remits, and support the Board in carrying out specific duties or oversight more thoroughly and effectively than the Board could otherwise do by acting together as a full board. /sites/default/files/2023-06/Org charts Governance May 2023.pdf

We are currently recruiting co-opted members to the following Committees:

Term of office, time commitment and format of meetings

The total time for Board Committee membership is estimated at 1 day per month. A typical term of office is 3 years, subject to annual review and renewable for a further final term of 3 years by agreement of the Board.

The majority of our Board Committee meetings take place on Microsoft Teams.

Prior to appointment, individuals wishing to serve as a Board Committee Member must declare their business interests and confirm that they meet the requirements for safer recruitment checks. The role is unremunerated, although expenses incurred in carrying out committee business will be reimbursed in accordance with WEA’s expenses policy.

Candidates should have an interest in and commitment to adult education for social purpose and a desire to take an active role in strengthening WEA’s governance. WEA puts equality, diversity and inclusion at the core of its values and is looking to increase diversity across the Association, and particularly among its leadership. We welcome applications from across the UK, particularly from individuals who can bring stakeholder perspectives to complement the experience of existing Committee Members, which may include (but is not limited to):

  • Lived experience relevant to the work of WEA, including those who have experienced social disadvantage, marginalisation or exclusion;
  • Experience of being supported by WEA’s education offer;
  • Experience of advocating for and defending access to education and/or social inclusion at a grassroots level.

Should you have any questions or wish to have an informal discussion about our governance vacancies please contact WEA’s Director of Governance and Company Secretary, Kathleen Formosa, [email protected]

Please apply using the expression of interest form at the bottom of this page.

Classroom Support Volunteer - Doncaster and Online

Volunteering alongside the course tutor, learners and other volunteers, we would like you to help engage and encourage students in their studies. You will be based in the classroom either in person or online. If supporting students in live online courses, you will join the tutor and students on your home computer using the Zoom video-conference app.

We are currently looking for volunteers to support in the Doncaster area in-person.

And we are also looking for volunteers to support online ESOL classes.

Main volunteer tasks

1. Helping students understand, appreciate and enjoy the topic
2. Supporting and encouraging students in the classroom, either 1:1 or in a small group
3. Helping students to record their learning and develop their study ̨swag
4. Assisting with the set-up and running of activities
5. Complying with the WEA volunteer code of conduct

If you would like to express an interest in either role please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

I enjoyed meeting WEA staff and learners who were all very positive and welcoming. I felt valued and supported and found the whole experience really interesting.

WEA Volunteer Moderator

WEA volunteer stories - be inspired

Learning is truly for life!

Interview with Andrew Cole of the WEA Walthamstow branch

When did you start volunteering at the WEA?
I joined in 1999.

What is your background / story and how did you come to volunteer for the WEA?
I worked as a health journalist until very recently. I’ve always had an interest in the local history of Waltham Forest and wanted to discover more about it. In 1999, I joined a course on industry in the Lea Valley being run by Jim Lewis (broadcaster, researcher, author) and haven’t looked back. I have attended nearly all of the evening classes run in Walthamstow since then!

What is your role within the Walthamstow branch, and what does this involve day to day?
I have a dual role where I am Class Secretary, and Chair of the branch.

The role of Class Secretary involves lots of administration and logistics related to organising and confirming new courses, liaising with tutors, registering learners and obtaining feedback, as well as sourcing venues for courses.

As Chair of the Branch, I am involved with the rest of the committee in making more strategic decisions, such as choosing the right courses and tutors, and planning marketing strategies for social media and communication to generate interest in the courses. We currently have eight people on the committee, and we meet bi-monthly.

The Walthamstow branch was officially set up in 2005. I became Class Secretary in around 2010, when Eric stopped attending evening classes and then Chair in 2012 when he sadly died.

What courses / activities are available at the Walthamstow branch?
We run two courses each year on the theatre and local history:

  • Theatre(daytime course) – examining plays by a range of playwrights past and present.
  • Local history(evening course) – focuses principally on local history but over the years we have on occasions branched out into archaeology, social anthropology and philosophy.

We also run social activities each summer; we ask the local members what they want to participate in, then organise events based on their interests. In the past, we’ve organised visits to Neasden Temple, Docklands, National Gallery, Walthamstow Wetlands and Highgate cemetery among many others. We try to keep the branch diverse and open to all.

What has been your experience of volunteering at the WEA so far?
It has been interesting taking part in most of the evening classes and being involved in the social activities. There is always a lot to learn on different topics. I developed an interest in the houses on my road and their surprising history – which I would not have done if I hadn’t been part of the WEA. I also helped form the Wanstead Flats history working group, part of the Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society.

What are the benefits of volunteering at the WEA?
It’s great to be part of an organisation that’s socially aware and committed to supporting adult education, and truly believes that learning is for life!

From volunteer to career

One young woman who so warms the hearts of so many in and around York is twenty-two-year-old Beth Cameron.

Last year, Beth began volunteering for the Families Get Active (FGA) project, which the WEA runs in conjunction with Sport England to help families find ways to get fitter.

Prior to this, Beth had a job in retail while doing graphic design at the University of York, having previously completed a level 3 digital marketing apprenticeship before going to university.

On the FGA project, she created graphics and posts for social media and other outlets and helped promote free workshops aimed at empowering people and increasing self-esteem.‘Working with such an amazing team of people who are so passionate about helping others has been such a great opportunity,’Beth said,‘It has really boosted my confidence and developed my ̨swag.

WEA project lead Rebecca Rowan told us:‘Last year this young lady started as a volunteer with us on FGA and through the project we have been able to provide her with many opportunities to showcase her ̨swag and build her confidence. How she has developed over the last year has been phenomenal.’

Now Beth, who has been promoting her talents via on Instagram, is ready to start a new role at Mind, the mental health charity, where she will be creating graphics and marketing material for the charity's team in York.

She told us:‘A few years ago I wouldn't have had the confidence or ̨swag to be able to do this, I thank the team on the Families Get Active project for not only being so welcoming and for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do, but also to develop. It has been so great to work on a project that's had such a positive impact on so many people's lives, and I'm going to carry this mind-set through the rest of my career.’

Ready to take the next step?

Complete the register your interest form below and one of our team will be in touch!

If you have any questions about any of the volunteering roles, or volunteering with us in general, please drop the team a line at [email protected].

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Are you currently or have you been a WEA learner/member/tutor or volunteer?
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Please select up to 3 roles of interest.
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You can read the WEA volunteer privacy notice at our policy page.