Volunteering should be given higher status by employers

Employers have been urged to place more value on volunteering in their recruitment process and promote it as an effective tool for staff development.

The Discovering talent – Developing skills report, by youth volunteering organisation V, draws on evidence to show how volunteering in community projects can help young people develop self-confidence, communication and team work skills.

The report also shows how volunteering can help engage young people who are not in education, employment or training and provide a route back into training or employment.

A recent V survey found that, while 87% of employers agreed that volunteering was ‘a valuable activity that could have a positive effect on career progression’, this was not borne out in recruitment practices. One in four HR departments said it was irrelevant whether a candidate had volunteered.

V’s chief executive Terry Ryall said: “Volunteering can tap into young people’s hidden talents and provide a gateway into education and employment. At a time when employers say staff lack soft skills, they should look to volunteering as a means of preparing new recruits for the workplace.”

The charity is also urging Jobcentre Plus staff to take a more positive view of volunteering. In some instances, it said full-time volunteers experienced difficulties with their benefits, which could result in a young person giving up volunteering altogether, rather than moving into work.

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