Volunteers and Interns
Please check our Join Us page for any specific volunteer posts we might currently have available.
Volunteering opens up lots of opportunities for learning new knowledge, generating ideas and extending professional networks whilst, at the same time, it provides valuable experience in a professional environment.
If you're interested in volunteering with us, please contact our Volunteers Manager firstname.lastname@example.org and send a CV, covering letter and completed application form. Include information on what you would like to gain from a placement with us and what you can offer in return.
Please bear in mind that we receive a lot of approaches from people wishing to offer their time and gain relevant experience. As placements involve a lot of time and effort on our part, we're not always able to offer positions to everyone who would like to work with us. However, we do promise to respond quickly to your enquiry and give an honest appraisal of whether we can offer a position.
Applications are considered on their own merit. While we usually require a time commitment of three months, this is open to negotiation depending on individual circumstances. All volunteer placements are based at our office in Milton Keynes; unfortunately we are not able to cover expenses for commuting.
Some of our previous volunteers and interns at NEF
Many people have volunteered with us over the years, and have had a very positive and rewarding time. Here's what some of them thought about their experience with us.
Trish - a volunteer with our YouGen team
After I submitted my PhD thesis, I was lucky enough to get a three-month Santander internship, organised by my university - The Open University - with the National Energy Foundation. I’m a mature student with a varied career, knew very little about renewables and wanted to get experience of writing for online publications. I worked as a content writer for YouGen, researching and writing blogs and news items mainly for a campaign on biomass boilers. I spent a lot of time talking to installers about practical tips for those thinking about installing a biomass boiler, so my interviewing skills came in handy. It was a steep learning curve and Gordon and the team were very helpful. Thanks to YouGen, I’ve now got some new skills and experience to add to my CV.
Matt - a Volunteer with our SuperHomes and Energy Envoys projects
After coming back from a year out traveling the world, I saw the volunteering scheme at the National Energy Foundation as a great opportunity to get back into work and gain valuable experience in the energy industry. Looking to develop my passion in energy efficiency and sustainability, I was fortunate enough to be offered a three-month placement where I worked closely on the SuperHomes and Energy Envoys projects. My line manager, Gordon, and the rest of the team gave me all the support I needed and treated me like a regular member of staff. One of the great things about volunteering with NEF is that you are always granted a high level of responsibility, and given the opportunity to follow a path that expresses your particular interests. From my experience, I gained a wealth of new knowledge about renewable technologies and how homes can be retrofitted to reduce their carbon footprint. I also learnt a variety of core skills including marketing and promoting events, liaising with stakeholders, and coordinating projects. My time at NEF was an invaluable experience and was instrumental in helping me secure a place on National Grid’s Graduate Scheme. I would just like to thank the whole NEF team once again for all the support, knowledge and advice they were always willing to share during my stay!
Sam - a Volunteer with our SuperHomes team
I volunteered with the National Energy Foundation during the summer of my penultimate year studying Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. I spent my time on the SuperHomes project, coordinating the promotion of open days with media partners, writing blogs and articles, and helping with an active social media campaign. My time as an NEF volunteer allowed me to gain a deep and varied insight into the energy sector as well as gain broad exposure to some inspiring projects run by the charity. I would never have thought it would have been possible to learn quite so much in just three months! I was also able to develop many transferable skills such as how to communicate effectively and work well as part of a team. I couldn’t have wished for a more kind and supportive atmosphere from my colleagues, who were always happy to offer help and advice at any time. I was made to feel included as part of the team from day one and really appreciated meeting and working with everyone at the Foundation. I also enjoyed training the volunteers after me, which I found to be fun, interesting and a learning process in itself! I cannot thank the National Energy Foundation enough for providing me with such an invaluable and rewarding experience, which has formed a solid basis for my future career.
Kaoutar - an Intern with our SuperHomes team
Being part of the Eramus+ programme, my time at the National Energy Foundation was a fantastic experience for me. I learned about the process of organizing SuperHome Open Days from beginning to end; from arranging event dates to publicizing them and updating the website. I also liaised with individual SuperHomers to develop reviews for the website of their favourite home refurbishment products. I had previously studied renewable energy at post-graduate level but this volunteering gave me an insight into the full range of technologies you can use to green your home. I am very happy to have been a part of this project. We desperately need to make people more conscious about energy efficiency, and encourage them to take steps towards using energy more efficiently.
Ugne - an Intern in our Technical team
Having completed two years at university and eager to apply my skills in practice, an internship with the National Energy Foundation provided an excellent opportunity. It was offered to me in collaboration with Santander Universities SME Internship Programme and Lancaster University. I was warmly welcomed at NEF and was made to feel part of the team throughout my time there. Everyone was friendly and guided me through my work. I was involved in three different projects, which gave me insights into both an innovative and research-focused project and building energy performance improvement projects. This variety of work allowded me to acquire a lot of extra knowledge about building energy performance and to gain new technical skills. My time at NEF provided me with invaluable experience, all of which will help me develop my future career plans.
Alex – an Intern with our YouGen team
I spent three months working with the National Energy Foundation as a content writer for the YouGen website. This internship was supported by the Santander Universities Internship Programme and the Open University. I greatly enjoyed working as part of the YouGen team. My background is in Environmental science, so I had a general knowledge of renewable energy, but had not worked in this field before. After completing my PhD studies at the Open University, I wanted to gain some work experience and practice writing for a more general audience. This internship allowed me to build up an extensive portfolio of articles, and I was able to research a wide variety of topics, from innovations in solar technology to creating a European 'Super Grid'. It also gave me a good insight into the more political areas of environmental policy and renewable energy, as well as the process of running a website of this sort, which I am sure will prove useful in the future.
Anna - volunteered with our YouGen team
After graduating, I was thrilled to be offered a three-month internship at the National Energy Foundation in conjunction with Santander Universities SME Internship programme and Warwick University. It seemed the perfect combination for me: an opportunity to hone my written communication skills, consolidate research skills and gain experience in the field of renewable energy. As an Online Content Writer and Project Officer I provided written material for the YouGen blog. Having the freedom to choose and research topics of my own choice was fantastic and I found it enlightening to speak with others about their advice and experiences. This research broadened my knowledge considerably and helped me to develop my understanding of the technicalities of microgeneration, government policy about renewable energy and practical ways we can all save energy in the home. I also had the opportunity to work with members of the SuperHomes team, and helped to support a marketing project. I’d like to thank everyone at NEF: you were all so friendly and welcoming, and made me feel completely at home in the office. Thank you! This internship has given me a real thirst to pursue work in this field and has been truly inspiring. I would definitely recommend it to everyone.
Peter - volunteered with our Household and Communities team
With a background in administration, data management and English teaching, I was looking for a way to gain experience in the field of energy efficiency before returning to university to study Environmental Sciences. My three-month placement at NEF allowed me to work on a wide range of projects: I edited and restructured the text, and thoroughly reanalysed the data, for a report on the efficiency of SuperHomes, learning a great deal about energy modeling and the various technologies involved. I proofread numerous blog entries for YouGen, each one about a different aspect of domestic energy use, and each one making me think about something new. These, and many other projects, opened my eyes to the range of technologies and factors involved in the modern quest for efficient energy use. Most importantly, the NEF team was invariably supportive and helpful, always taking time to answer my questions and give suggestions and advice. Thank you!
Antoine - an Intern with our SuperHomes project
Prior to my internship at the National Energy Foundation, I studied for a masters degree in Engineering at a small French university on Reunion Island, during which time I gained wide technical knowledge about sustainable buildings and the use of energy in tropical climates. As part of my course, I had to complete a three-month internship and I wanted to use this time to focus on communication. The National Energy Foundation provided me with an ideal opportunity by offering the chance to work on the SuperHomes Project. This provided me with a lot of practical experience and I learnt about the various different energy-saving measures homeowners can instal. My time with the Foundation improved my communication skills in English and developed my understanding of how to promote successful events such as the SuperHomes Open days. Working on these events developed my attention to detail and my ability to work independently and meet the required deadlines. I also had the opportunity to get involved in more technical projects - for example, Energiesprong, which aims to bring a successful Dutch whole-house retrofit approach to the UK. Everyone at NEF was very friendly and made me welcome; I settled into my role quickly, to the extent that other interns thought I was a regular member of staff. My experience at the Foundation will be extremely valuable and it has already helped me secure my next placement at ARUP Germany.
Andrew - an Intern with our Households and Communities team
My PhD programme at the Open University ended several months earlier than I anticipated and I was quite unprepared for the job market. I couldn't decide where I wanted to stay and the area of work I wanted to be involved in - but I knew my career path was definitely in research. The Santander/Open University Internship Scheme provided me with a good transition as it allowed me adequate time to think about my next steps. I decided to look for an organisation which was small and interactive, plus an assignment which would keep me in the area of research, especially the generation of data to inform policy. This was just what NEF offered me and I was very pleased with my stay at the Foundation. While at NEF, I developed new skill sets, some of which I am now drawing on in my new job.
Helena - an Intern with our YouGen team
After completing my Environmental Science degree, I worked in international development for nine months. As a transition to more environmental jobs I wanted to find an internship that would enable me to gain some experience in this sector. I was fortunate to be offered one at the National Energy Foundation in conjunction with Santander Universities SME Internship Programme and Lancaster University. As an Energy in Homes Intern, I worked mainly on the YouGen blog where I broadened my communication and research skills. I learned a huge amount about the potential for energy saving and generating energy in homes; and government policies about energy. I appreciated having a list of blogs that I could pick from to write, as well as the freedom to suggest blogs myself. The diverse range of subjects helped to expand my knowledge on various topics. Other jobs such as compiling the YouGen newsletters, various tasks for SuperHomes and assisting with a marketing project for YouGen kept me busy and challenged me to work beyond my comfort zone. It was wonderful to work within an established team who were always happy to answer questions and provide help. Everyone at the Foundation was welcoming and friendly and NEF is well set up to help interns to make the most of their time there. This internship has helped me to develop more of an idea of what I would like to do in the future and developed skills that I will need in future jobs.
Dora - volunteered with our Energy Envoys and SuperHomes projects
Having studied Environmental Science at university, I’m very interested in, and concerned about, sustainability and how communities relate to the environment. Looking to get practical experience of designing environmental education community projects in the UK, I landed a placement at the National Energy Foundation. I volunteered for three months and worked on two different projects: the Energy Envoys volunteer scheme, which is run in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; and the SuperHomes project. For the first of these I created teaching materials about climate change and the use of energy, and produced guides for use by participants to develop their own projects. While working on SuperHomes, I contributed to managing the database, as well as creating promotional materials to help spread the word about the project. My experience at the Foundation couldn’t have been better: I gained technical knowledge of energy efficiency in buildings, I learnt about new educational tools and developed new research skills, and I improved my technical communication skills. I also learnt to deal with deadlines and gained self-managerial aptitudes, which will be really useful in the future. Working with an outstanding team who were really helpful and understanding made my time at the National Energy Foundation a fun experience and I felt at home from the very beginning. There's no doubt that I would do it again!
Jacky - an Intern with our Technical Team
I applied for a three-month internship at the National Energy Foundation as I was looking for more experience and a pause in my PhD. I took an opportunity through the Santander internship programme in partnership with the Open University. Having focused my research on ubiquitous computing for renewable energy and the domestic environment, I had the chance to work in the same area - homes and energy - but from a completely different perspective. My project at the Foundation was to design a web platform that generates personalized recommendations for home buyers. Buying a house is an ideal opportunity to improve efficiency and comfort while minimizing cost and effort. Although Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are available, they are difficult to access and read so the tool I developed aimed to make information and recommendations more accessible and appealing. I really enjoyed working at NEF. Everyone was friendly and knowledgeable; the staff care, think and act in the interests of sustainability. My experience at the Foundation helped me improve my design and computing skills. Being in an environment were people talk 'energy' rather than 'computing' was the biggest and most appreciative change for me, as it opened up many opportunities for learning new knowledge, generating ideas and extending my professional network.
Ben - volunteered with our Technical Team
One year after I finished my Master Degree in Climate Change, I was lucky enough to gain some valuable work experience by volunteering at the National Energy Foundation for three months between September and December, 2014. I worked as part of the Technical Team conducting data analysis on a range of energy efficiency and domestic property data sets. One of the main projects I worked on was based around analysing the National Energy Efficiency Database and looking at ways to incorporate this analysis into services offered by the Foundation. This project allowed me to consider ways to create a functioning online application where users can compare their energy consumption to similar properties within the NEED database. This volunteering position allowed me to improve my technical skills whilst gaining valuable experience working in a professional environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and gained valuable insight into the work conducted by NEF, especially the importance of data analysis within energy efficiency projects. Throughout my time at the Foundation I was provided with invaluable support and advice from all members of staff that I worked with, particularly Luke Smith, my supervisor. I would like to thank everyone at the National Energy Foundation for providing me with this rewarding opportunity, and I know that the experience I gained contributed to my being accepted on a graduate scientist programme.
Felicity - an Intern with our Communities Team on the SuperHomes project
I worked for the National Energy Foundation for three months as a Home Energy Research Intern through the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme. After completing my PhD, I decided to embrace the opportunity to gain commercial experience as a researcher. The aim of my internship was to collect empirical data to support funding bids for the Foundation’s SuperHomes project, and to assess the influence and effectiveness of the project on all those involved. From the moment I started I felt accepted by the team and that my input was of real value to the Foundation's efforts to support the SuperHomes project. The National Energy Foundation is a fantastic place to work as there is very much an emphasis on teamwork, with everyone willing to help others in sharing ideas and supporting workloads. It was a valuable experience to work outside a university and with people who care so much about energy sustainability. I would like to thank everyone at the Foundation for the valuable experience and for making me feel so welcome.
Marco - volunteered with our Building Performance Evaluation Team
Working for three months at the National Energy Foundation was an important and extremely pleasant experience. After I graduated in architecture and following a Masters degree in Sustainability and Environmental Design, I decided to upgrade my skills by working abroad. Through the Leonardo da Vinci programme 'Youth for Energy Efficiency' project I flew to the UK and had the opportunity to join the enthusiastic and extremely motivated team at NEF. The main part of the work I undertook was to build a dynamic energy model of NEF’s own building and, based on the final design, make a prediction of its consumption. The aim of the work was to try to overcome the performance gap between estimated and actual consumption. My collegues were interested in my work and provided me with all the support I needed for its development and the success of my research. I am really grateful to the whole team at NEF and I would definetely recommend a professional or educational experience there.
Collins - volunteered with our Sustainable Energy Services Team
Just like other research students before me, I was given excellent assistance and was treated like one of the staff of this great organisation. I worked with Dale Hoyland in the Sustainable Energy Services team. Both time and the other resources required for my research on the subject of the health impacts of fuel poverty in the Milton Keynes area were limited but I was supported by a hard-working team - especially Dale and Kathryn who both work tirelessly on the Affordable Warmth Networks - and I was able to complete my work. I was given the opportunity to attend meetings, seminars and, most importantly, I was supported with kind and inspirational words and feedback. The staff at the National Energy Foundation were ready to help me at every turn and willing to make sure that I completed research work of a high enough standard for my masters at Cranfield University. Ideally, I would have liked to have worked with the Foundation and its excellent staff for a year or two to gain much more experience. I would like to say thank you to everyone and I wish you all the very best as you work to make life better for others.
Sarah - an Intern with our Design and Modelling Team
Two years after my master degree in architecture, I decided to undertake work experience abroad. I won a mobility grant from the Leonardo da Vinci programme and worked at the National Energy Foundation on an internship lasting three months. I have always been interested in the ‘sustainability’ of buildings and I was glad to have the opportunity to work with the Foundation to improve my knowledge of, and to get directly involved in, many energy efficiency projects. I worked with the Design and Modelling Team and carried out research on Building Information Modelling (BIM), its application and its benefits for different professional sectors. I was also involved in a study of the different types of external wall insulation in social housing retrofitting, where the main concerns were the risk of condensation and rising damp. During the last month of my placement I had the opportunity to work on the NEF building itself, modelling and analysing the energy performance to understand the gap between the notional and the actual building use. During my internship I learnt new approaches, new methods and new software, all very useful for my future career in sustainable architecture; and I hope I made a valuable contribution to the Foundation's work. I would like to thank everyone for having given me the opportunity to work with such a very professional and expert team.
Carrie - volunteered with our Building Performance Evaluation Team
Halfway through my PhD I decided that it would be beneficial to take a sabbatical from my research to gain some practical experience of work in the field of energy efficiency. I came to the National Energy Foundation for nine weeks and was involved in an interesting variety of projects. My work included conducting a review of the Renewable Heat Incentive for Ofgem, analyzing data from a Technology Strategy Board funded building performance evaluation of new housing and preparing an energy efficiency leaflet for the Sustainable Restaurant Association. I was also able to get involved in the the Foundation's building performance evaluation project and conducted an occupant building satisfaction survey (BUS) of the Foundation's staff. I really enjoyed my time at the National Energy Foundation and feel lucky to have worked with such a great team who are so passionate about sustainability and energy efficiency. I learnt a lot but also hope that I have been able to make a valuable contribution to the very important work that the Foundation does. Carrie returned to the UCL Energy Institute to continue and complete her PhD.
Alexander - volunteered with our SuperHomes project
I took an opportunity to volunteer with the National Energy Foundation in order to raise my awareness of the UK environmental sector, and to gain some practical experience in this field. I was involved in the SuperHomes project. The aim of the project was to encourage and inspire the general public to refurbish their homes in an eco-friendly way. To achieve this aim, my colleagues and I organised open day events in the houses that had already been renovated in a sustainable manner. My work also included: drafting posters and preparing packs for the open day events, searching for opportunities to promote the project, analysis of feedback forms from previous open day events and liaising with the owners of eco-friendly homes. In my opinion, the SuperHomes project brings definite benefits to society. First, it shows how the ideas and principles of sustainability may be followed during our day-to-day life. Secondly, it inspires people to change their attitude to the environment and makes them feel more responsible for it. I would definitely recommend this placement to anyone who wants to work in the environmental or marketing spheres.
Howard - volunteered with our Communities Team working on the SuperHomes project
I volunteered at the National Energy Foundation for six-and-a-half months, as part of my Bsc in Environmental Science with a year in industry. I completed the majority of my year in industry while at the Foundation while building on the knowledge that I gained in my first two years at university. Projects that I worked on included: Local United, SuperHomes, E.ON Thinking Energy Trial and various other jobs. I was able to make the most of what's on offer at NEF by attending training courses, site visits and I gained first-hand experience with the sustainable technologies that are integrated into the NEF building. While there, I gained so much experience and matured a lot in a relatively short time. This will help me towards achieving a career in renewable energy. I left to carry out my dissertation, which I worked on in conjunction with Cliff Willson at the Foundation. I would like to thank Gabby Mallett for giving me the opportunity to volunteer at NEF and for keeping me busy throughout the whole placement. I was sad to leave NEF and all the friends I made while working there. I hope to keep in contact both in and outside the office.
Katarin - volunteered with our Communities Team working on the SuperHomes project
I decided that I wanted to go abroad to gain more practical experience within my subject. So, I was very lucky to get a place with the National Energy Foundation as a volunteer for eight weeks. Although it wasn't very long, I got the opportunity to learn many new things and build on the knowledge I'd gained at university. I was mainly involved in the work of the secretariat for the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA), which is responsible for organising and coordinating the work of the association's council. During my time at NEF, I did lots of different and sometimes very challenging tasks, and I was also able to get an insight into both the communities and consultantancy teams. In general, the tasks I did were very interesting and sometimes challenging but they provided me with the chance to develop myself further, and get to know how an English NGO works. During my volunteer placement I gained lots of experience, which will help me not just professionally but also personally. Everybody was very friendly, outgoing and nice.I wish all the staff at the Foundation all the best for the future.
James - volunteered with our Communities Team working on the SuperHomes project
After graduating, I organised several different volunteering placements to gain valuable experience within the environmental sector. However, none was as useful, diverse and interesting as my placement at the National Energy Foundation, and I believe it was this experience which helped me get that all-important first job. I focussed mainly on the Old Home SuperHomes project, creating information leaflets, conducting data analysis of visitor feedback forms and whatever else needed doing. In addition, I was given several ad hoc research tasks so I always had plenty of jobs on the go. The best thing about volunteering was that I was continuously improving my knowledge of renewable energy, which stood me in brilliant stead for interviews. I learnt an enormous amount about energy efficiency, renewable energy systems and sustainability schemes, and also had access to the NEF 'library' which has a wealth of resources and information on all things renewable. I would thoroughly recommend volunteering at the Foundation as the work was relevant and interesting. Everyone was extremely welcoming, and it played a huge part in getting myself onto the first rung of the careers ladder. Thank you NEF!
Natasha - volunteered with our Communities Team working on the SuperHomes project
I volunteered at the National Energy Foundation as I felt the experience would offer an excellent foundation before starting a master's course in Sustainable Energy Systems. My time volunteering proved invaluable as I learned so much whilst working with the Communities Team on the Old Home SuperHomes project - a network of energy-efficient retro-fitted homes which open to the public with the aim of educating visitors on how to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint at home. I enjoyed helping with the statistics gathered for the project as well as assisting with carbon accounting the whole office. Everyone who works at the Foundation is extremely friendly and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk to people with the same purpose - to reduce carbon emissions and stop climate change. My placement was inspirational and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to gain knowledge about the sustainable energy industry. Natasha went on to work for OFGEM as part of its Renewable Heat Incentive Team.
Jenny - a student who volunteered during her summer holiday
I volunteered with the National Energy Foundation for six weeks during my summer holiday, as I felt that it would complement my course at university, and look good on my CV. But, above all, I believed it was a good cause that is fundamental to today's changing environment During those six weeks I gained far more than I expected, including an insight into the corporate world. I worked in many different departments, and met some fascinating people with similar interests. No day was the same, and I found myself helping develop educational talks (including making the props), helping with the organisation of the Climate Challenge Show, and assisting with the day-to-day running of the trade associations, which included a wide range of office duties. I found the whole experience exciting, challenging, and above, all rewarding. I would recommend it to anyone.