Your move: Volunteer work

8th April 2005 at 01:00
Get thinking about your future career

Do you want your next class to be the one that doesn't want to know, or those who have walked miles for the chance of an education?

If you're feeling jaded and fancy combining travel with a challenge, volunteering overseas could be an answer. Those in demand are maths, science, English language and primary teachers, but FE lecturers with a trade are welcome, especially plumbers, health specialists, electricians, mechanics and engineers.

You need not give up your job either - negotiate a release with your school, at no cost, and they'll gain a more rounded, satisfied member of staff in return.

Voluntary Service Overseas provides a pack that helps you persuade your employer of the benefits of a sabbatical. If you have a mortgage, many lenders will consider a one-year mortgage holiday.

According to VSO, there are about 115 million primary aged children not in school, and a third of those who are, don't finish the five years necessary for basic literacy.

Volunteering with VSO is seen as a CPD opportunity by unions, and the DfES is encouraging primary teachers to take up placements. VSO provides a financial package, including local salary and assistance on return.

Non-profit organisation i-to-i provides TEFL courses for which you could earn money. For the fee, you get training, 247 health and emergency back-up, in-country support team and repatriation in an emergency. Other opportunities range from caring for underprivileged children to protecting endangered species. Geared to the independent traveller, these last from one to 12 weeks, or more.

Also check out Christian Aid and Oxfam.

Useful websites

Andy Stanley

Next month: Teaching in a prison

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