Training return

On returning from his mission, a volunteer needs help in taking stock of his experience, how he views it, his own convictions,etc. To assess the project, the professional, emotional, moral experience and all the other aspects, the sending structures organise a time for reflection which will differ according to the type of voluntary work and the type of volunteer.

Aims and objectives of support on return

The VIES organisms give four main aims to this final ‘Return’ phase (assess and take stock of the mission, help in the personal return of the volunteer, help in the professional return of the volunteer and encourage solidarity commitment) but these aims can be realised in various ways depending on the type of volunteering.

Assessing the mission and putting it into perspective (project / volunteer):

  • Analyse how the project developed during the volunteer’s mission period
  • Analyse how the partnerships developed
  • Analyse the impact of the project on the beneficiaries, the volunteers and the partners.
  • Analyse how the volunteer’s motivation developed in relation to his project, his mission, his experience and what he plans to do next
  • Estimate the potential of future missions
  • Capitalise on the knowledge and know-how related to the missions

Helping the personal return of the volunteer:

  • Direct the volunteer to a health check.
  • Inform the volunteer about how to obtain good social insurance.
  • Give financial support to the reintegration of the volunteer.
  • Help the volunteer to find new accommodation.
  • Tell the volunteer about the tax procedures to follow.
  • Be ready to listen to the volunteer to help him to formalise his experience of inter-cultural life and the way he now views North/ South issues.
  • Help the volunteer cope with the "re-entry syndrome".

Helping the professional return of the volunteer:

  • Aider le volontaire à faire une relecture de son expérience professionnelle.
  • Informer le volontaire sur les différents types de retours possibles.
  • Sensibiliser le volontaire aux difficultés qu’il va rencontrer dans sa recherche d’emploi.
  • Orienter le volontaire vers les structures ad hoc.
  • Proposer au volontaire une méthodologie de recherche d’emploi.
  • Conseiller le volontaire sur des techniques de recherche d’emploi.
  • Permettre au volontaire de valider son expérience dans le cadre de diplômes universitaires reconnus (Validation des acquis de l’expérience).

Encourage the volunteer to continue solidarity commitment

  • Encourage the volunteer to tell others – friends, the public – about his experience .
  • Support the active commitment of the volunteer within his group, his association, his NGO; in a former volunteers network; in other international solidarity organisms.
  • Tell the volunteer about day to day solidarity actions.
  • Develop and promote the international solidarity sector through VIES commitment on their return to France.


A preparation course for VSI has been obligatory since the law of 2005.
Each sending structure has its own scheme for preparing the return.

In the case of France Volontaires as a sending structure:

  • Show how the sense of the experience fits in with the pattern of life
  • Identify, explain and highlight the volunteer’s acquired experience professionally, socially and personally.
  • Formalise one or two aspects of this volunteering experience, in writing or orally.
  • Explain the possible directions for future projects in terms of professional involvement and/or social commitment.

The objective of the course is to introduce the volunteers to the idea of analysing the experience and continuing this beyond the course.

In practice:
4 days as a day student at Ivry sur Seine or in one of the regions.
2012: 4 courses, one of which was regional.
Free transport, accommodation and meals are included.

The Youthpass
In partnership with the Agence Française du Programme Européen Jeunesse en Action (AFPEJA), a trial of the Youthpass scheme (used in the European Voluntary Service, EVS) was made with a Volontaire de Solidarité Internationale (VSI) public.

Civic Service

The experience of being a volunteer is part of a plan for the future, carried out in conjunction with the tutor. Thus, at the end of the mission, he should help the volunteer obtain employment, work experience or a course, according to his plans.

Several partnership conventions or Recognition charters have been signed in order to recognise the experience of Civic Service in the recruitment procedures of large companies.

Each volunteer also receives a certificate of Civic Service and a report in his name describing the activities carried out and an assessment of the skills acquired during his mission.

The agency also offers a CV bank that partner companies have access to.

And finally, the Institut du Service Civique has started to cater for post-mission volunteers. 
Three sectors are offered: training, professional project and business start-up.


Taking a fresh look at the mission necessarily involves a review. The sponsor commits himself to working alongside the team in this summing up and to offer guidance in the reviewing.


To help volunteers to reflect on what they have learned and to put this into words, the European Commission created the Youthpass. Youthpass is a tool to help young people make the most of their experiences while taking part in a project in the Youth in Action programme.

Youthpass is a tool to describe what they have done and to show what they have learnt. It is completed with the help of discussions with the tutor on the various aspects. In it, they describe the learning outcomes of an EVS project and this can be shown to future employers or formal educational institutions; they will then recognise skills acquired through non-formal learning.

There are three parts to the Youthpass certificate:

  • a description of the voluntary service
  • a description of the actual project, the functions and tasks undertaken by the volunteer, courses followed during the period together with a description of the activities of the host organisation and the name of the sending organisation.
  • an account of the individual learning outcomes of the volunteer during his service.