Public Engagement volunteer at an the Imperial Festival

Why are volunteers so important?

It's important to get the public talking about science and we do this with our Public Engagement and Community Engagement programmes. These include events such as Imperial Lates and the Great Exhibition Road Festival as well as partnerships with other organisations and our community projects in White City.

We're really proud that these events engage thousands of people each year, we are a small team, and could never hope to run the programme without some help from our fantastic volunteers! You really are vital to achieving our mission to inspire and empower people. Not only do we want to inspire the public with the amazing work Imperial does, but we want them to engage with our amazing and diverse College community. We want to inspire the public with the people here, as well as the research. 

Who is a volunteer?

Any internal staff or student that is helping us deliver the event on the day (rather than contributing directly to the content of the event). We encourage everybody to volunteer, so whether you have been here two weeks, two years or two decades, please get involved. One of the most inspiring things for visitors is interacting with our diverse College community.

What do I need to do to become a volunteer?

We have changed our sign up process for volunteering to make it quicker and easier for you. All your details will be collected by our simple online volunteering portal. 

  1. Create your account or sign in to your existing account on our new volunteer platform. 
  2. You will be asked to agree to our Volunteer Approach (PDF) to start your registration.
  3. Enter your details (you will only have to do this once).
  4. Sign in, browse the shifts/training on offer and pick those you want to be involved in.
  5. Use the same log in details to sign up for more shifts or cancel a shift you can no longer make.

What happens on the day?

  1. One week before shift you will be provided with a briefing document with all the information you will need.
  2. At the start of your shift you will be met by the volunteer manager who will then introduce you to each other and recap key information from the brief.
  3. During the event you will have been assigned various roles, which could include the below. We aim to assign your shifts before the event, but may need to make changes on the day. 
  • Welcoming members of the public and answering any questions they may have
  • Managing tour registrations and queries
  • Managing talks and performance entry and turnaround
  • Supporting researchers exhibiting or speaking about their work
  • Supporting workshop facilitation
  • Helping us understand what people thought about the event, how they are interacting with the content and how we can improve future events
  • Gathering content for College social media
  • Assisting in set up and take down of the activities or workshops

The event will finish with celebratory pizza/refreshments which is an opportunity an opportunity for us to say thank you and get to know you!

Please note that you will be supported by the volunteer manager throughout the evening – they are there to make sure you have everything you need.

Public Engagement volunteer at an Imperial Lates event


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m not sure about volunteering, who can I talk to?

If you have any questions or concerns about volunteering, we are more than happy to chat over coffee, over the phone or reply to emails. Contact us at Please get in touch - volunteering is for everyone!

I’m new to the College and I’m not familiar with the campus or Imperial's research - can I still volunteer?

Yes absolutely! You don’t need in depth knowledge to volunteer and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the event in your event briefing.

Being new to the College is one of the best times to join us as a volunteer – you can get to know different people, research areas and get more familiar with the South Kensington campus.

I’m based at a different campus, can I volunteer at South Kensington?

Yes, lots of people do! We encourage you to get involved and get to know colleagues from across the College. 

What happens if I can’t make my shift?

We encourage you to only sign up for shifts that you will be free for.

If you can no longer make your shift, please cancel it via the volunteer portal as early as you can - the more notice we have the better. This is quick and easy to do on the volunteer portal. If you have any specific questions that we can help with, please contact us at 

Will I have a chance to get to know the space?

Yes. Part of your briefing will include a walk round which will include where the content, information area, toilets and emergency exits are. We are happy to walk you round the space seperately in the weeks before your shift if you would prefer.

Can I put volunteering/volunteer training on my CV?

Yes definitely. Employers always want to see evidence of transferable skills such as communication and teamwork - volunteering with us will certainly develop those skills.

We will also be running training sessions which you can list on your CV too. 

Will you provide food for me?

Yes. We will provide snacks or a meal dependent on your shift length. You can notify us of your dietary requirements when you sign up to our volunteering platform in order to select your shifts. If you have already signed up, you can change your dietary requirements at any time in your 'about you' section, log in hereWe also encourage you to bring your own bottle of water to keep with you while volunteering to ensure you keep hydrated. 

What should I wear?

  • Volunteer t-shirt (provided for you).
  • Trousers/skirt/other of your choice, in line with the College dress code.
  • Comfy, closed toe shoes for health and safety reasons.
  • Layers as some volunteering opportunities may take place outside.

I have accessibility requirements, are you able to accommodate those?

Yes - we want to encourage everyone in the College community to volunteer. 

Dependent on your requirements, we can put different measures in place - please contact us at to discuss this.

I’ve already volunteered a few times want more responsibility, is this possible?

We want to ensure that we help you develop. Occasionally we will invite volunteers to take on more responsibility in a supervisor role. Such changes will usually require further training and briefing. The decision to offer that role will be made by the public engagement team, but please do talk to us ( or in person) if this is something you would be interested in.