Are you up for a challenge next summer? Want to develop consultancy, team work and project management skills whilst making a big difference with a London-based charity?

If so, our Consultancy Challenge could be just the thing to get your summer started.

Applications have closed for our 2024 Consultancy Challenge, but you can keep an eye out for information about next year's challenge by signing up for our Volunteering Newsletter!

If you would still like to get involved and make a different through volunteering this summer, make sure to check out our Volunteering Opportunity Directory to find the perfect role for you!

What is it?

The Consultancy Challenge is a week-long volunteering initiative open to all current UCL students and run in collaboration between staff in Students' Union UCL and UCL Careers with host staff in London-based community projects.

The 2024 Consultancy Challenge will take place the week after the end of Term Three (Monday 10 June - Friday 14 June 2024) with a training day for all successful applicants in the week beforehand to equip you with the skills and knowledge you'll need to excel during the challenge week.

What did the Consultancy Challenge look like last year?

Our 2023 Consultancy Challenge Week delivered on 12-16 June 2023 and involved 61 undergraduate, Masters and PhD students selected and matched with 8 London-based community projects – deploying project management and consultancy skills developed at our training ahead of the week to find innovative and sustainable ways for their host organisation to overcome a particular business-problem worked up into a week-long challenge (such as a lack of volunteers, funding, or of a reliable database), in-line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals..

The challenge was made possible by funding received from the UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement fund from UCL Grand Challenges and additional funding received to support PhD student engagement from UCL Organisational Development. 

The 8 London-based charities in 2023 were The Ramblers, The Museum of the Home, Caritas Westminster, Coachbright, Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Refugee Therapy Centre, Share Community, and Starfish Greathearts Foundation. Each host agreed to allocate sufficient staff time and resources in-kind ahead of and during the Challenge Week to give our volunteers the best experience possible – and received a small grant of £250 from us to enact the solutions our student volunteers came up with during the week.

After two training sessions on consultancy skills and project management in the last week of term, the Challenge Week began on the Monday with an icebreaker session led by each host organisation – outlining their project in full, timings for the week, connecting their projects to the UN SDGs and clarifying reporting expectations.

The Ramblers project team working up a solution to source footpath data from all UK Local Authorities en masse

Each team spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday working on the projects with their organisation hosts.  Friday was spent back at UCL – with a reflection session for all student volunteers to reflect on their learning, skills development and impact.

Following the session and a break, the 8 project groups were tasked with presenting their findings and final report to all participants, hosts and a judging panel. At the end of the plenary presentations the group judged to have delivered the best project were allocated an additional £500 for their host organisation to enact their solutions. This was followed by a formal announcement of the winning group at a reception and a wrap up of the week.

The Caritas Westminster project team presenting their findings to everyone at the Friday wrap-up

All student volunteers received a certificate recognising their participation and a follow-up email will be sent to them later in Term One 23-24 outlining what their host organisation has done to enact the solutions they came up with on the challenge.

The winning team! The Rambers project team received an additional £500 grant for the charity to implement their solutions