European Solidarity Corps for young people

If you are between 18 and 30 years old, you can volunteer or work on projects that benefit communities and people in the Bulgaria or abroad. Meet like-minded people and build something together with the European Solidarity Corps..

Ready to change your world?

Volunteering, managing your own project or having a job experience – which one to choose? ICDET and other organisations funded by the European Solidarity Corps can offer you life-changing activities. Find out which one fits you best and how to get involved.

Make a difference

The European Solidarity Corps is a chance to bring change while feeling part of something positive and developing skills. Activities could be in the Bulgaria or across Europe, volunteering or work experience. What’s more, you can get some financial support while taking part.

It all starts with a quick registration on the European Solidarity Corps portal. This platform works as a matching tool between young people and organisations of all types which run projects that benefit people and society.

From big multinational companies to small NGOs working in local communities, organisations use the portal for promoting opportunities and searching for candidates.

It is also a space where you can connect with like-minded people between 18 and 30 years old.

There is a wide range of activities on the portal that can be divided into two main groups: volunteering and working (called ‘occupational strand’).

If you decide to volunteer, you will not receive a wage but will be entitled to travel, lodging and subsistence expenses as well as insurance coverage for the duration of the activity. You will receive relevant training before you start and after you arrive on site.

If you go for a job placement, there will always be a formal labour contract and a wage in line with local laws, regulations and collective agreements.

After participating in a project, you get a certificate that can be used when applying for jobs or further learning.

 

Choose your destination

Europe has fantastic destinations, with such a variety of landscapes and cultures to be explored. With the Solidarity Corps, you can have the chance to get involved with projects taking place in 54 countries.

Depending on the activity and the organisation you are in touch with, it is also possible to go beyond Europe.

The perfect destination is always the place that offers the best opportunity for you. Check our countries list to see where you can go

Not ready to go abroad?

You don’t need to go far away to take social action. If you prefer to give back to your own community, you can volunteer, work or develop a Solidarity Project in your country. Find out more on our What you can do .

Duration

You will be able to find European Solidarity Corps’ activities that suit the time you have to get involved with. Placements and projects usually last between two and 12 months, depending on the activity.

For people with fewer opportunities, there is a possibility for shorter placements – from two weeks to two months. This is also how long volunteering team's activities last.

How to start

Registering on the European Solidarity Corps portal is easy and quick. The portal works as a matching tool between organisations who are looking for potential participants and people like you. You will be able to submit preferences to find the right cause for you, whenever it suits you.

Organisations range from small NGOs working in a local community to multinational companies, so you will have plenty of opportunities to apply for. They can also contact you directly, if your profile matches their project. On the portal you can connect with participants and take the opportunity to share experiences and stories from your placements. Networking, online training and post-placement support are available.

Who can take part

  • You must be between 18 and 30 years old. Registration is possible from the age of 17, but young people cannot start an activity until they are 18. Participants must complete their activity before they turn 31.

  • You must be legally resident in or have the nationality of one of the European Union (EU) Member States. Volunteering Projects are also open for young people from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, Republic of  North Macedonia and countries neighbouring the EU.

  • You will be asked to confirm that you agree with the European Solidarity Corps' Mission and Principles when registering on the portal.

What happens next

  1. Approved organisations will see your profile and can get in touch, or you can apply for advertised opportunities;

  2. Suitable candidates are contacted and interviewed by the organisation;

  3. Organisation offers a placement for those approved;

  4. Participant carries out the activity;

  5. Organisation provides certificate upon completion. 

Start your own project

Don’t want to wait for a placement with an organisation? The power is in your hands. Young people registered on the portal can create activities themselves, known as Solidarity Projects.

Download the Solidarity Corps app

Don’t miss out: download the European Solidarity Corps app to keep in touch while on the go.

From browsing opportunities to reading other peoples’ experiences, the app has everything you need to stay connected with the Solidarity Corps community. Once you have accepted a placement offer, you can even create your own journal entries and share them on social media, once you are an active participant.

 

What you can do

Once you are registered on the European Solidarity Corps portal, you can find a wide range of opportunities posted by various organisations across Europe.

Social action is at the core of the European Solidarity Corps, so expect to find projects with exciting ways to make a difference. For example, you could get involved in environmental work in forests, support refugees to resettle or bring improvements to a small village.

There’s more – European Solidarity Corps projects can also relate to inclusion, democratic participation, disaster prevention, health and wellbeing, and education. The list is long and keeps growing with more funded projects every year.

Volunteering and Traineeships and Jobs placements are full time, but duration can vary. You could spend a whole year abroad, but there are also opportunities for shorter placements, starting from two weeks, if that suits you more.

Have a great idea and can’t wait to get it started with your friends? You could set up your own local project for causes that matter to you with Solidarity Projects funding. 

Click on the tabs below to know more.

 

Volunteering

Volunteering in a European Solidarity Corps project means being involved in the daily work of an organisation in the form of community-level projects, in the UK or abroad. Accommodation and meal costs are covered as part of the placement (including a holiday period). You will get pocket money and travel expenses up to a set amount, as well as insurance coverage. Worried about your language skills? Not a problem: linguistic support can be provided.

Your participation can be individual (known as Individual Volunteering Placement) or in a group (called Volunteering Teams).

Individual Volunteering Placements

This is the classic style of volunteering, with great emphasis on the benefits that the experience could bring to you as the volunteer. Not only will you feel rewarded for helping a community, you will also receive training before your placement, as well as throughout and after the experience. There will be support to help you make the most of it. The exact destination, duration and type of placement will depend on the project you get involved with. Usually, these placements can last from two to 12 months, but young people with fewer opportunities can have shorter placements, starting from two weeks.

Volunteering Teams

If you don’t feel ready to embark in an experience on your own, you can participate in a group of 10 to 40 young people from different countries, this is called a Volunteering Team. The group volunteers together in a community for a period between two weeks and two months.

It’s also a good option for those who cannot commit for a long period of time, but still want to make a difference.

Application process

Who can apply: young people aged 18-30 from an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Republic of North Macedonia, Turkey and Countries neighbouring the EU who are registered on the portal.

How to apply: search for opportunities on the portal

Please note: a volunteer can take part in only one Solidarity Corps volunteering activity. This means that if you have already been part of an Erasmus+ volunteering activity or a European Voluntary Service, unfortunately you are not able to apply. For further details on possible exceptions, please check the Corps Guide.

Traineeships and Jobs

Within the European Solidarity Corps, you can find opportunities for work practice in a type of project called Traineeships and Jobs. This sort of activity can help you to boost your skills while helping communities, facilitating your transition into the labour market.

Although a work experience, it includes a solid learning and training component which will help you to gain relevant skills for your professional, social and personal development. European Solidarity Corps Traineeships and Jobs are paid placements, in line with the national rules of the country where you will be working. If you are given a job, you will be expected to cover living expenses and accommodation from the payment received. Costs such as travel, relocation and additional personal expenses are covered up to a set amount. Linguistic support is available, if needed, and you will be covered by insurance.

 

Traineeships

A European Solidarity Corps Traineeship lasts between two and six months. It is remunerated by the organisation responsible for your traineeship. From the beginning of the experience, you will know what to expect, as there will be a written traineeship agreement. Traineeships do not substitute jobs and are clearly separated from voluntary activities.

Jobs

A European Solidarity Corps Job is a full-time work practice that can last from three to 12 months in Bulgaria or abroad. It will be remunerated by the organisation employing you. You will have a clear idea of what to expect before it starts, as there will be a written employment contract agreed in advance.

Application process

Who can apply: young people aged 18-30 from an EU Member State who are registered on the portal

How to apply: search for opportunities on the portal

Solidarity Projects

Do you have a great idea in mind to improve your local community? Within Solidarity Projects, you could set up a project yourself, with a group of friends, and take social action wherever you live in Bulgaria and Europe. With this type of activity, groups of at least five young people can come up with and run a project locally. It could address key challenges within the local area, whilst also helping tackle regional or even national issues. 

Your group must have a clearly defined topic that you wish to explore together, with concrete daily activities that involve all the participants. Think about working methods and project management – you will decide these too.  Climate change, gender equality, democratic engagement, or other topics – it’s all about the causes that matter to you. If you’d like, you could choose to work with an experienced organisation when applying for funding or find a coach to support the group (someone with youth work experience, for example). The project can last from two to 12 months and it can be part-time. Applying for Solidarity Projects is a straightforward process. In the application form, you will be asked questions such as why you want to carry out this project, how it will benefit the community, and which activities you are planning to run during the preparation and implementation of the idea. 

 

Before you apply

There are six steps to get your group ready to apply for funding.

1. Create your group: call other young people from your community and bring together your group with a common idea or topic.  

2. Get everyone registered: all members of the group should join the European Solidarity Corps Portal.

3. Have a PIC number: one member of the group takes the role of ‘group leader’ and registers on the Participant Portal to obtain a Participant Identification Code (PIC). Alternatively, you can identify an organisation that is willing to apply on your behalf (either they already are registered on the Participant Portal and have a PIC, or they will obtain one).

4. Do your homework: it’s time to get geeky! Read the specific guidance and watch tutorials on writing your application to know what to expect when filling the form. 

5. Create your project: structure your ideas and fill the application webform in. 

6. Submit your application. Don’t miss the deadline, and good luck!  

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