We know that parents and other family members or guardians play a major role in a potential volunteer mentor’s decision to join City Year UK, which is why we want you to better understand your son or daughter’s interest in our organisation.

Who is City Year UK?

City Year UK challenges young people to tackle educational inequality through a year of full-time volunteering in schools. During the year, our volunteer mentors act as mentors, tutors and role models to children from disadvantaged communities, helping with academic attainment, behaviour and attendance issues.  

As well as having a huge impact on children’s lives, it’s a chance for our young people to develop leadership skills and invest in their own future. This year we have 170 young people serving in 23 schools in three regions: London, West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

Why should my child do City Year UK?

City Year UK is a leadership development programme which is designed to help our volunteer mentors secure employment or progress onto higher education after they complete the year. The training and coaching opportunities they receive, combined with the resilience developed from committing to a year of full-time volunteering, makes City Year a talent pool for universities and employers, and many of our volunteers are budding entrepreneurs.

City Year gives your child a year to realise their passions and develop critical leadership skills, while also providing them with a unique opportunity to give back to their community. Not only is the year incredibly rewarding, but the ongoing leadership development training gained both in and outside of school, ensures that our young people are constantly learning, growing and developing.

How will this opportunity prepare my child for the “real world”?

Volunteering full-time will equip your child with a wide variety of career and life skills from working in a team, conflict resolution to time management. The skills that your child will develop will help them succeed in their future career aspirations, whether in a field they’re passionate about like business or medicine, or in pursuit of a higher degree, or even in a career with City Year. They will have access to their own mentor, typically a business professional from one of our partner organisations, as well as the opportunity to build their networks and prestigious work experience placements.

How will this support my child’s career opportunities?

Our volunteer mentors have gone onto great roles within the public, private and charity sectors - ranging from education, health and social work to finance, engineering and sport. Our volunteer mentors leave the programme as self-confident leaders with the values, knowledge and skills to continue contributing to society even after City Year UK. Once your child leaves City Year UK it doesn’t end there; they will have a global network accessible to them which includes their own mentors to help with career advice and progression, learning from leaders events, career fairs as well as networking opportunities.

What skills will my child gain from this opportunity?

It’s a challenging year, but one filled with fun, new friendships and meeting people from all walks of life. Volunteer mentors learn to understand themselves better and develop key skills in communication, problem-solving, public speaking, resilience, initiative and empathy. We consistently hear that at the end of the year our young people have a clearer sense of where they want to get to in life and the skills they’ll need to get there.

What financial support will my child receive?

Your child will receive living expenses of up to £4,400 per year, reimbursed travel expenses, a free uniform and access to City Year’s hardship fund if eligible. Many of our volunteer mentors opt to live at home during their year, although some share with other team members.

What level of support are volunteers given?

Your child will be supported every step of the way. Every team has a dedicated member of City Year staff overseeing them in school. They assist the volunteer mentors through management, training and with pastoral care. They will support volunteer mentors in the relationships they develop with pupils, parents and teachers.

Will they be the only City Year representative within a school?

No, all of our volunteer mentors work within teams of between 6 and 16 in each school, so they will never be on their own. They will also have an Impact Officer from City Year UK with them to support and guide them throughout the year.

How do universities view a year out/gap year?

Most universities see the advantages of deferred entry and welcome the maturity and motivation, as well as the additional experience, that an applicant who has taken a gap year can bring to their degree. Relevant experience will support university applications and make your child’s personal statement stand out.

Do you have any case studies?

Yes, you can find volunteer and alumni stories here.

How far will my child be expected to travel?

When assigning volunteer mentors to schools we always consider their geographical location and travel time and try and match them with a school in a convenient location.  

What happens during City Year’s selection process?

Your child will have to complete an application online. Once this has been completed our team will be in touch within 48 hours. Your son/daughter will be invited to an interview where they will have a competency-based interview and a group task.

If they are successful at interview they will be offered a conditional offer on the basis that they pass an academic assessment. This will involve a short literacy and numeracy test which will take about an hour to complete in total.

What should I do if I have any questions?

If you have any further questions feel free to contact communications@cityyear.org.uk and we’d be happy to discuss.