The European Solidarity Corps is a major new EU programme that was launched in December 2016. Its goal is to give opportunities for young people to work and volunteer on special projects throughout Europe.
Examples of these projects include:
- Rebuilding communities after natural disasters
- Helping refugees that have just arrived in Europe
- Clearing plants from forests to prevent wildfires
- Assisting people with disabilities.
Projects can last anywhere from 2-12 months and will usually take place within the EU. They may include some training. The Corps will never deal with immediate disaster relief projects which are always carried out by trained professionals.
You can sign up at any time, and places will start being offered from late spring 2017.
Who can sign up?
The European Solidarity Corps is open to young Europeans aged 18-30. You can sign up to the Corps from the age of 17, though you won’t be able to start a project until your 18th birthday.
You can take part if you’re a citizen or legal resident of any EU country (as well as Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Liechtenstein and Macedonia).
It’s not currently known if the Corps will be open to citizens of Britain or Northern Ireland after the UK officially leaves the European Union, though they can take part until then.
How can I sign up?
Anyone who wants to take part in the European Solidarity Corps must agree to the project’s Missions and Principles, available at this link. If you think you can get behind them, the next step is to register.
You can start to register by clicking this link. You can even sign up with one of your social media accounts if you don’t want to set up a completely new profile.
Once you’ve filled in your details they’ll be added to a database. This can be searched by organisations carrying out projects on behalf of the Solidarity Corps. If you have the skills one of these organisations is looking for, they may offer you a place on their project.
You’re free to accept or turn down any offers as you like. You can also always hide or delete your account if you want to stop receiving offers.
Will I get paid?
The short answer is that it depends. There are two kinds of opportunities with the European Solidarity Corps: occupational and voluntary. Most offers will be for volunteering work, which is unpaid. However, volunteers will get many of their expenses covered, normally including:
- Travel to and from the project
- Medical insurance
- Some spending money for the day-to-day cost of living.
Occupational projects within the European Solidarity Corps will be offers of jobs, traineeships and internships with organisations carrying out Solidarity Corps projects. These will be paid in line with the local laws of wherever they are based and will require a higher level of skill than most volunteer positions.