Volunteering in the Creative Industry

Are you looking to pursue a career in the creative industries? Volunteering may be the best place to start.

We chatted to Fay Butler from Puppet Animation Scotland, who started out as a volunteer and is now in full time employment.

Q: Where have you previously volunteered?

A: I did volunteering between my first and second year at a festival office for a small arts festival called Solas Festival. That was a really good experience for me and it was my first experience in a festival office and I really enjoyed it.

Q: What made you want to become a volunteer?

A: It’s a great way for immersing yourself and a great way of gaining experience by getting involved in creative opportunities.

Q: How did you find out about the opportunity?

A: For the Solas Festival I found out through friends as I knew someone who was a volunteer and I asked if I could help out at all.

Q: Do you think through volunteering its helped you get a job?

A: Yes, absolutely. Actually I have been told that interviews as well.

Q: Did you make any friends or contacts through volunteering?

A: Definitely, through volunteering I met a wonderful colleague and following the festival I ended up working on a project with her on the side. I was teaching and playing music with her to young offenders in prisons for Impact Arts. Oh, and loads of pals too!

Q: Would you consider volunteering again?

A: Yeah definitely, I would consider volunteering again. It’s nice to keep up stuff on the side. It’s a really good idea.

My top tip for someone looking to get into the creative industries through volunteering would be having passion for what you’re interested and being able to show that passion.

10 tips to help you land a volunteering opportunity...

  • Volunteer Scotland provides a whole database of volunteering opportunities and services are updated regularly online.
  • Creative Scotland host volunteering positions through their opportunities search tool, from media, marketing and PR to music, drama and crafts. Opportunities are available across Scotland.
  • GoThinkBig offers helpful tips, online tools, interesting features, advice and creative work experience opportunities across the UK. 
  • Do a Google search to see what volunteering opportunities are available in your local area by checking volunteer sections of job sites such as Reed, S1Jobs or Indeed.
  • Join LinkedIn to showcase your skills, interests and achievements. It also expands your network by allowing you to join groups and discussions on various topics that you are interested in.
  • Create a professional Twitter account or blog that highlights your interests and skills. If an employer searched your name online they would be impressed to find that you are actively promoting what you can do and what you’re interested in. You can start a free blog on sites such as Blogger or WordPress.
  • If you are on a work placement, get names and emails of people you work with or add them on LinkedIn to stay connected. You never know, they might ask you back. 
  • If you’re at college or uni, remember that your tutors and classmates could be potential collaborators or colleagues in the future and are part of your creative network. Remember to stay connected with them!
  • Add personality to your CV and don’t be afraid to experiment. CVs no longer have to be black and white. If you are applying for a creative role – be creative!
  • Ask! If you would like to volunteer or gain work experience with a company send a polite email, or better yet, phone them up and ask if you can apply! This shows you are interested and determined.

Please note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may not currently be able to volunteer in all the ways we've suggested. However, now is a great time to start planning your next fundraiser/volunteer opportunity.

If you're looking for more information on careers, employment rights and opportunities, check out our W.O.R.K. campaign page.