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Our top tips for applying

Is City Year UK right for you?

Before you apply, make sure that you understand what City Year is about. A year of volunteering is often life changing but it’s also a big commitment. It’s not right for everyone – take time to think about whether it’s right for you.

In particular, City Year has a strong culture and sense of mission. Do you believe in what we’re trying to achieve – could you be a role model to pupils every day?

Last but not least, City Year is also about you and your personal and professional development. As well as asking yourself ‘can I do this?’ make sure you also ask ‘what could I get out of this?’


What we’re looking for

We are built on inclusivity and are open to any 18 to 25-year-old with a minimum Level 2 qualification in maths and English (GCSE or equivalent). However, there are certain things we look for throughout every application. See if you can demonstrate these capabilities in your application form and interview:

  • Commitment to transforming children’s lives
  • Self awareness
  • Adaptability
  • Organisation
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Initiative
  • Resilience


The application

You have up to five-hundred words to tell us something interesting about you and the things you have done. We want to hear why City Year resonates with you, what you could bring to being a City Year Mentor and what you hope to gain from the programme.

You don’t need to have worked with children. Perhaps you’ve had other relevant experiences you can draw on? Tell us about a time you’ve taken the lead or made a difference in your local community and link it to the types of qualities you might need as a City Year Mentor – from supporting pupils to liaising with teachers.


The assessment 

Your assessment will last at most two hours and will have three parts:

  • A 45-minute academic test, to help us assess your level of English and maths (calculators are allowed). 
  • A school-based scenario task that will give you the opportunity to show us how you face and overcome challenges.
  • An interview with City Year UK staff, to give us a chance to get to know you. Let your personality shine and make sure you’ve thought about those competencies we mentioned (see ‘What we’re looking for’). Can you demonstrate your skills and experiences in each area?


Assessment checklist

Here are some final pointers to help you prepare.

  • Know City Year UK’s mission

Do your research! Having a good understanding of what we do will help you explain why you’d make a great City Year Mentor.

  • Keep it professional 

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make a big difference – arrive on time, dress professionally, take a moment to pause and think before responding to questions and ask your own questions if you need clarification. Remember to smile, be enthusiastic and show that you are interested!

  • Highlight any experience working with children or young people

This could include babysitting or helping out with Brownies, Cubs, Guides or Scouts. Make sure that you can talk about the lessons you learned or the strategies you used to engage children and how those experiences could help you as a City Year Mentor.

  • Consider your contribution

We all have our own unique experiences and background. Consider yours and think about the skills and perspectives you can bring to City Year.

  • Demonstrate your self awareness

Similarly, it is important to be mindful of how your experience, background, and skills shape your own perspective. At City Year, we are part of a highly diverse community of teammates and pupils. Be prepared to share your approach to working with people who are different from you.

  • Reflect on your team role

Teamwork is important to many jobs and it’s one of our organisation’s core values. Think about how you like to operate in a team: what do you bring, what do you rely on teammates for, and what have you learned from these experiences?

  • Consider what you want to get out of City Year UK

City Year is a challenging and rewarding experience. You will give a lot but you will also gain a lot. Spend some time reflecting on what you want to get out of your year. You should be able to identify areas you want to improve, skills you want to build, and how the opportunity to volunteer with City Year could help you achieve your future goals.

Finally, if you have any questions all you need to do is ask! Whether you’re just considering joining us, are in the process of completing an application or have been invited to one of our assessment days, we’re more than happy to help.

Good luck with your application!

The City Year UK Recruitment Team

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