Sign-up for your end of programme next steps appointment! Please follow the link sent to you in your last Explore update email.

As always please send any questions to

What is Explore?

It’s hard to work out your next steps at university, but we believe that experiencing the sector first hand and knowing a little bit more about the job market can give you the tools and inspiration you need to feel prepared for the year ahead.

The Explore programme has been designed to guide you through a theme or themes which interest you, through a voluntary placement, on-campus events and expert help in identifying your next steps, be that at university or beyond.

To take part in the programme you will need to:

1. Apply for a voluntary placement. This can be with Careers, YUSU or elsewhere but it must include working with an external (off-campus) organisation for at least one academic term (10 Weeks). 

2. Explore your sector by completing steps in your Explore Journal, this will guide you through how to understand your chosen theme and to build relevant skills and knowledge.

3. Complete your placement and journal, whilst receiving regular email updates which will keep you up to date with relevant sector knowledge, events and workshops.

4. Plan your next steps by attending an expert career guidance session at the end of Spring or Summer Term.

How to Apply

There are two ways to apply depending on the voluntary placement you decide to undertake:

Option 1: If you apply for a Careers volunteering opportunity, tick the "Explore" box at the end of the application form and we will be in touch shortly.


Option 2: If you choose to get involved in a voluntary placement outside of Careers please fill in the following application form and make sure the placement or project meets the criteria below.

A placement eligible for Explore must:

- Include an external organisation, this could be delivering a workshop in a school, supporting a local charity etc. Note that on-campus activity (aside from planning for activities held off-campus) does not count towards the programme.

- Last for at at least one term (10 weeks) inlcuding around 2-4 hours of volunteering per week (if hours are irregular this is fine, but the total number of hours should be roughly 30 or more).


Through volunteering you can gain so much more than feeling like you've given something back to your community. By approaching volunteering in a focussed way, in an area of interest which means something to you, you can learn a great deal about the way not-for-profit and community organisations are run, and what your role could be within them.

You should choose a role that builds on skills you already possess and would like to improve, or addresses something that you are not so comfortable with. This could be building new relationships, business insight or a more specific skill like marketing, implementing environmental initatives or motivating individuals in need.

The volunteering team in Careers are here to help you find an appropriate placement through our two key programmes:

York Students in Schools

- Offer classroom support

- Deliver in-school workshops and after-school clubs

- Inspire a love of learning in young children

- Mentor secondary school pupils

York Students in Communities

- Help deliver practical conservation projects

- Inspire the public to engage with York's rich heritage

- Mentor and support an individual rebuilding their confidence

- Support exciting respite activities for young carers

- Support a York charity through social media or research

 Please see the 'How to Apply' tab if you want to use a voluntary placement not offered by Careers as part of the programme.

Remember, experiencing community organisations first hand can help change your perspecive on the sector as a whole and help you learn what you are good at and where you can make a real impact, both during your studies at York and beyond. A career 'beyond profit' can be found in many places, outside of traditional charity and fundraising roles:

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity.

Melinda Gates makes a provocative case: What can nonprofits learn from mega-corporations like Coca-Cola?

Themes 2016/17

The Explore programme will focus on three themes this academic year, Education, a Career Beyond Profit and Welfare & Social Justice. You can choose to receive updates on as many themes as you like, but please note that each theme will comprise of one email per fortnight. Theme updates will include:

  • Sector knowledge: Discover interesting articles and updates on the sector today and which roles are avaliable.
  • Alumni insight: Read and listen to stories from university graduates who work in the sector, and have the opportunity to be mentored.
  • On campus events: Make sure you don't miss helpful campus events, this could be employers on campus, workshops or lectures that are relevant to your theme.

Explore... Education

If you are thinking about teaching as a Career, or would like to discover the non-teaching aspects of the education sector, this theme will help guide you through the options avaliable.

Explore... a Career Beyond Profit

Discovering a career where you can do good as well as find what you are good at can be daunting, this theme is designed to help you discover a career path that you might not have considered before.

Explore... Welfare and Social Justice

Welfare and Social Justice requires stong and passionate individuals in an ever-changing society, in a variety of roles. Learn more about the Criminal Justice System, Mental Health, Policy Development, Local Authorities and Social Work. 

Try to match your themes to the placement you are undertaking. When making your choices, think about what insight your placement will give you in relation to the above themes.

Sector knowledge can help you understand your options, but seeing roles in action first hand is by far the best way to work out if it's for you!


You should aim to complete your voluntary placement by the end of Spring term, which should give you enough time to apply and get started throughout Autumn.

Once you have a placement confirmed you are ready to start completing your Explore Journal, which will ask you to consider the following tasks:

1. Record your placement: When it comes to applying for internships, jobs or further volunteering placements, it is always a good idea to have a record of what you did to refer to.

2. Employer Encounter: You don't have to leave campus to meet or hear from employers who work in an area that interests you. Regular email updates from the Explore team will keep you up to date with where to find them!

3. Research your Theme: Understanding the fantastic opportunities that are on offer will help you plan your next steps. Use your interest in a sector to inspire you to research it, learn more about what working in the sector really involes, and the routes that others have have taken into the sector. You might decide that the sector is for you, and if you do, make the most of your time at York to tailor your experiences putting you in the best position possible for entering the sector.

Plan: To complete the programme you must attend a sign-off seminar at the end of Spring Term/ start of Summer Term. Please see the plan tab for more information.

If you realise your chosen theme may not be for you, that's okay too, come in for a careers advice appointment to help guide your journey, and and keep exploring.



Once you have nearly completed your placement and finished your Explore Journal, you can complete the programme by attending a 'sign-off' seminar towards the end of Spring Term, or the start of Summer Term. Seminar slots will be sent to you nearer the time.

In this informal setting you will receive expert advice on how to identify your next steps, based on your experiences and knowledge gained by taking part in the programme. This could be trying out something different, applying for the York Award or taking a Career step such as writing a job or internship application, improving your CV or applying to a graduate scheme.

If you have any questions about the programme, which theme to choose or how to secure a placement, get in touch with the Explore team at


Below you will find any relevant resources that have been used so far in this years programme for reference.

If you couldn't make it to the event don't worry! You can still get involved, please just follow the steps in the 'How to Apply' tab, or drop us an email at to let us know you would like to be added to the list.

Short video providing sector insight from represntatives from Changing Lives and Childreach International:

Please also see slides from the Explore Launch event in Week 3 below, or click here to download: Explore Launch Presentation Slides (PDF  , 1,175kb)