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Volunteering and Jobs | Co-worker info

Vocational Co-workers

Caring and responsible individuals from diverse backgrounds give their lives a new meaning and direction by joining a Camphill community for an extended period of time. Some may have family with children. Many Camphill communities in the UK and Ireland are carried by a number of such 'Co-workers', who are keen to take on major responsibilities in the home, work, administrative, social and spiritual life of the community.

All communities are embedded in statutory welfare and funding arrangements that are carried and managed by such long-term Co-workers with skills in those areas in some communities. At the same time all Co-workers will help create, shape and sustain the social and spiritual fabric that makes the Community a place of healing, mutual respect and social and spiritual creativity.

Our Co-workers dedicate their energy, skills and human capacities in a voluntary, non-contractual way; their relationship to the community is based on mutual trust, a shared vision and inner commitment to the principles, values and aims of the community, and to all those participating in its life. Co-workers do not draw a salary, but their reasonable needs, including discretionary provision for their needs in retirement, are met by the community from its funds.

The tasks and responsibilities that Co-workers in a community carry are always varied. Many require specialist skills, experience and a high level of professionalism and accountability. Other tasks rely on more general human qualities and character.

All our communities are involved in the work with vulnerable individuals - children, young people and adults. Co-workers are often the key people carrying the responsibilities for the welfare, safety, development and education of the vulnerable members of the community. Some will carry major responsibility for the contractual relationships to placement and funding bodies and the statutory obligations that go with these. Whether this is as a House Guardian, workshop leader, teacher, therapist, administrator etc.

For each Co-worker this needs to be balanced against their personal interests and development needs beyond those arising from being a carrying member of the community; for many this also needs to be balanced against their commitment to their own family.

Schools - Colleges -Adult Communities

There are three types of communities, distinguished by the group of vulnerable individuals or 'Residents' they are working with. There are a small number of therapeutic specialist school communities catering for children aged 6-19; there are a number of further education and training college communities catering for Residents in the age group 16-25; the majority of Camphill communities are working and therapeutic communities with adult Residents.


Tasks and responsibilities in Camphill communities vary to some extent according to the different types of communities. Co-workers may be acting as House Guardians (other names: House coordinator, House manager, House parent) in one of the community households. In this capacity they will be sharing daily life with a number of the community's Residents. As a House coordinator you will be responsible for your Residents' daily welfare and safety arrangements, managing and supervising the domestic provisions (meals, cleaning, laundry, house accounts etc). You will liaise with the Residents' families, social worker and other agencies involved with your Residents' welfare.

You are likely to have support from a number of Guest Volunteers, usually young people who join the community for a limited period of 6-24 months to support its work. You will be involved in aspects of their induction training and on-going supervision; you are also likely to share and support them in their personal joys and sorrows.

As a Co-worker you are also bound to carry specialist responsibilities in areas such as teaching, therapies, leading day activities, craft workshops, cultural activities, coordinating work programmes, participating in Residents or Co-worker and Volunteer admissions work, liaison with authorities and funding bodies, general administration and management etc. Such involvement usually arises out of pre-existing skills or a particular interest, and the community may ask you to take up specialist training.


As a Co-worker new to a community you will be required by our statutory welfare arrangements to complete a programme of Induction training. This will cover topics such as child or adult protection, health & safety requirements, welfare and educational needs and risk assessment and support planning, professional boundaries, equal opportunity, record keeping, concerns and complaints etc. All communities offer a Foundation programme, usually embedding the Induction training, that will give you a general first introduction to the community's underlying image of the human being (Anthroposophy). The programme will include elements of human development and psychology, a survey of conditions such as autistic spectrum disorder, epilepsy, Down's syndrome etc. Artistic activities and sessions including producing plays for festivals will often be part of the Foundation programme.

Qualifications & Professional registration

The Care and Welfare regulatory bodies increasingly require that those in position of responsibility hold recognised professional qualifications relevant to their work in the care or social care field. Therefore as a Co-worker you are likely to be asked to undertake such training unless you are already qualified. 

Professional standards and conduct

As a registered charity and organisation bound by statutory and contractual obligations to its welfare regulators and funding bodies, the community will have policies in place for a wide range of activities. As a Co-worker you will be guided to familiarise yourself with these and you will need to adopt a professional attitude to these.

Length of stay

The levels and nature of responsibility that you will take on as a Co-worker require you to commit yourself for a minimum stay of usually 2 years. Many Co-workers, however, will make a community their home and place of involvement for five or more years.


All communities are open to have a number of Co-worker families with children join them. Children bring colour, youthfulness and a wealth of relationships to a place that is unique to them. However, it can also be a challenge to Co-worker parents to balance the diverse needs that arise between community responsibilities and the needs of the nuclear family. It is important that joining a community is right for all members of a family. There is ample evidence that children that have spent some of their childhood in a Camphill community often develop a particular ability to engage with ease in a wide range of mature social relationships.

Working time - free time - holidays

Some communities, particularly schools and college communities, operate some formal arrangements regards working time and free time with designated days off etc. This is less the case in adult communities. However, all communities will encourage their Co-workers to arrange sufficient free time on a regular weekly basis and to arrange for some time away from the community for holidays, personal space and personal development.

English language proficiency

Many Residents have difficulties to communicate in spoken language. This can lead to frustration for them. Co-workers with limited spoken English increase these difficulties. Further, the levels of responsibility that you will carry as a Co-worker require you to have an advanced and reliable level of both spoken and written English.


The unsalaried Camphill Vocational Co-worker has been recognised by the Charity Commissions in the UK and the UK Tax authorities as a legitimate though unusual status. This brings privileges but also responsibilities with it. communities are able to cover their Co-workers' legitimate personal needs on a discretionary basis and within agreed budgets. As a Co-workers your are asked to perceive your own personal needs in the context of those of others and of the overall financial means of the whole community. This is enabled through transparency and accountability and your participation in the financial affairs of the community.

While your community will in general cover your needs arising from your work and life in the community, any pre-existing obligations such as loans, maintenance payments, pension plans and life insurance contributions need to be discussed with your community and agreement reached before you join. Personal assets of Co-workers such as property, cars etc remain the responsibility of the Co-worker and are best not brought into the economy of the community.

When you leave and wish to move on after a significant period in a place your community may wish to support you and your family financially and in other ways in taking the next step within the constraints of the community's resources and Charity Law.

How to apply

You need to enquire and apply direct to an individual community in which you are interested. This website provides current Co-worker vacancies and details for Camphill communities in England and Wales. For other opportunities chose the links on these pages to the contacts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Following your enquiry, if a community thinks they may have a vacancy that matches your circumstances and expectations, they will send you more detailed information and an application form. A number of visits and conversations with those responsible for Co-worker applications will always be part of the admissions process. As part of application you will need to provide at least two confidential references and an enhanced Criminal Background Check.

I am of non-European nationality

If you are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) you will require UK entry clearance. You can only apply for this once you have been accepted and invited by a community. As a prospective co-worker you will apply for entry clearance under the Tier 5: Charity Workers route. To this end the community that invites you needs to be licensed as a Tier 5 sponsor with the UK Border Agency. As part of the information which the community will send you they will provide a unique Certificate of Sponsorship (a number) that you will need to apply for your visa. Your visa will be valid for working and living in a particular Camphill community only and will restrict your stay to 12 months maximum. Your community will send you guidance on how to apply for your visa. At the end of your visa period you will need to return to your home country. Should you wish to stay for a further period in the same or a different UK Camphill community then you will need to make a new UK visa application from your home country. Such a further stay in the UK may or may not be granted.





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