Step into the Gap

CAFOD believes in equipping and inspiring young Adults to be able to contribute to a more just and peaceful world. Step into the Gap is a full-time year of volunteering in a UK placement, with immersive and interactive experiences of learning about global justice. 

In partnership with our UK placements, we offer opportunities for 18- 30 year olds to gain experience, develop leadership skills and spend a year in service or others. Enabling them to influence and inspire a generation of younger people and others to make the link between faith and acting for the poorest and most marginalised.

Apply for 2022

Why not do your gap year in a Catholic community.  Applications for September 2022 are now open.  

If you are interested in taking part in the Gap year programme starting in September 2022, please do fill out the form for more information or email direct to Arianne McIntyre at where you can receive more information . If you would prefer to have a conversation, we can arrange an telephone/ zoom call. 

By being in either a retreat centre or school chaplaincy you can volunteer as part of a programme which works alongside the Catholic community and others to bring about a more just world. This programme offers the opportunity to gain varied work experience develop a range of skills and deepen your knowledge and experience within the context of your faith.

Are you ready to Step into the Gap?

Tell me more about Step into the Gap

Step into the Gap FAQs

Will I get paid and will I have to pay for anything?

The Gap year is fully funded. You won’t be paid a salary, but you will receive regular money for your basic living expenses. The amount depends upon the placement you choose. Training, accommodation, travel (related to work), will be paid for and covered. Food, accommodation, and relevant equipment will also be provided. You may wish to purchase your own contents insurance for your UK accommodation. Fundraising for CAFOD will be part of the work in your UK placement team.

How are volunteers selected?

The first stage is the application form. For those who are shortlisted, there will be an individual interview and the opportunity to meet members of staff at your chosen placement. Depending on the placement this could be a day or a week.

Do I have to be Catholic?

You will be working in a Catholic environment and must be comfortable engaging with people around faith issues. You don’t necessarily have to be Catholic but you should be able to demonstrate your understanding of the Catholic Church or be open to learning more about it.

How long is the programme and when does it start?

The programme lasts for an academic year (usually September to July). Training and inductions start from the middle of August You will normally work to the academic timetable with holidays at half term, Christmas and Easter this is arranged via your placement.
Within this year you will also attend workshops, CAFOD head office in London, retreat weekends and be invited to partner events in England and Wales . This year saw our Young Gap Year leaders embark on the first learning networking visit with other partners in the Global Catholic Church in Rome. The trip also included a retreat weekend in Assisi, inspired by Pope Francis reflections in Laudato Si.

Can I volunteer for just part of the year?

No, the programme is designed as a year long process.

Will I be able to get a job with CAFOD or my placement team when I finish?

There is no guarantee of employment at the end of the year, but you will certainly have gained a lot of relevant skills and experience.

What will I be doing in the UK and where will I stay?

This depends on the placement that you choose. Please read the placement information carefully and look at the placement websites to help you decide which placement would suit you best.

What support will I get during the year?

On a day to day basis you will be supported by the staff and team at your placement. You will also meet regularly with a local member of staff from CAFOD and be offered support from specialist CAFOD staff in Head Office.

What if I start but find that I don’t enjoy it?

We will work together to try to sort out any problems. If you find that it’s just not right for you then we’ll support you as you decide what to do next. If you leave straight after travel you may be asked to repay some of the costs.

If I love it, can I do it for a second year?

No, Step into the Gap is for one year only, so that as many people as possible can have the opportunity to experience it.

Will I get training and will I have to pay any training costs?

We will make sure you’re well prepared for your gap year. Your training will be provided by and paid for by CAFOD. Your placements will offer training for their specific placement requirements.

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