Gap Year Volunteers

If you’re considering a gap year to learn new skills and live in a community with the children and young people then this could be for you.

Every year volunteers from across the world join us to share and experience our way of life. Help to make a real difference – it could change your life and ours.

“I had an amazing time with the students and the team in my house. We were one big family and I loved it! Everybody was so supportive and the students are amazing. Thank you for this year!”

 “It’s an incredible experience, you learn so much about yourself, about independence. I learned a lot through working with the pupils.”

To find out more, you can see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below or contact us directly on

Do I need previous volunteering experience?

The simple answer is no! It’s always great when you have previous volunteering experience (or even a degree in social sciences), but we’ll give you training when you join our community. The courses on offer – depending on the house and the student requirements – are:

  • PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups)
  • First Aid • Manual Handling
  • BSS (Behavioural Support Strategies)
  • Epilepsy
  • Hoist
  • Children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum
  • Children with Attachment Disorders
  • Learning for Practice modules
  • Health and Safety


What can I expect in Camphill School Aberdeen?

A community of people living and working to provide day and residential services to children and young people with additional support needs. On site we have day and residential students (3-25 years old), local and gap year volunteers, staff and retired staff. Some volunteers and staff live on site.

What does the daily schedule look like?

It can be a long day, but it’s very rewarding. The schedule may vary from house to house and for each student but it generally looks like this: Monday – Friday The house wakes up, breakfasts together, and then students go to their class or workshop. At 1pm, it’s lunchtime and everyone gathers together in the house for a social lunch. Afternoons are spent either in classes, workshops or relaxing. 5.30pm is dinner time. We have meals together and everyone participates in household activities depending on their ability. After dinner, volunteers carry out house tasks such as helping clean up. There are usually social and recreational activities to be involved in, such as Scottish/folk dancing, going for a walk or watching a film. Weekends are more flexible, so students are encouraged to go on walks around the estate, go for a cycle on the old railway line, or go on outings further afield. You typically work between 45-48 hours a week (this includes two hours of your weekly Foundation Course) and you are given two days off a week to explore locally or further afield.

What should I pack in my suitcase and bring with me?

Scotland is a colder country with a maximum of 26 degrees Celsius during the summer. Winter can be cold and there’s often a hard frost in the mornings, so please bring warm clothes with you as well as a hat, gloves and a scarf. There is no uniform so bring clothing that you feel comfortable in and you don’t mind getting dirty – you may be working in the farm and gardens or going for a long hike. You’ll need a pair of trail shoes or hiking boots.

What’s included and what’s not?

Your accommodation, soft furnishings and food is covered. As a volunteer you’ll be living in one of our residential care homes. Your room will have a bed, either a wardrobe of chest of drawers, and a lockable cabinet for your belongings. The other facilities in the house are communal spaces such as the kitchen, bathrooms, living rooms and dining room.

How long can I stay at Camphill School Aberdeen?

12 months is the longest length of stay we can offer. We encourage requests for university practical placements over three months, and we also open our doors to Waldorf School placements. Please email us with your request and we’ll be in touch.

Arriving in Scotland

Aberdeen airport is only a 15 minute drive away from our estates. You can also fly to either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport. There are great transport links to Aberdeen from both cities, either via Scotrail or Megabus (the UK version of Flixbus/Greyhound). If you choose to travel this way, you have the added advantage of beautiful views of Scotland. Once you arrive, we can help you get an ISIC card and a UK bank account if required. We can help you with any UKVI and EU Settlement schemes requirements such as BRPs and police registrations.

What are our specific requirements?

As some of our pupils are non-verbal, we ask that all candidates have a good level of English. You will also be offered English lessons throughout your time in the community, if you’d like to brush up on your language skills. Please remember, every day you’ll be speaking and hearing English, so your command of the language will improve dramatically within a few months. All of our volunteers are asked to pay for their flights to and from Camphill School Aberdeen. Please do not book flights before a UKVI confirmation for your Tier 5 Charity Workers visa.

How do I apply?

Please send an email to and we’ll send you an application form with all the information you’ll need. This is the start of our application process. We ask for two referees, a medical check and a police check as well as a Skype call to get to know you. Once we have all the paperwork in place, then we can begin the Tier 5 Charity Worker Visa process. You can also apply through the following sending agencies: IVS (UK branch of) Service Civil International or SCI, VAP Franken, Die Freunde, EOS, via e.V.

Additional queries

If you have further questions, please email us at and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

“Being a volunteer in Camphill School is amazing” Read Aifi’s story

Read more about life in Camphill School Aberdeen

Our Services

What is available for children and young people to reach their fullest potential

About Us

Camphill School Aberdeen is an independent charity supporting children and young people – many with additional support needs – to reach their fullest potential.

The Camphill Movement

Camphill is a worldwide movement dedicated to building communities where everyone can find purpose and belonging.