How volunteering can support youth pathways to employment

When young people are considering their future careers, it can be hard to decide which paths to choose and how to get there. What jobs and industries are on offer? What skills are employers looking for, now and in the years to come?

Volunteering can play an important role in supporting young people on their road to securing a good quality job.

Explore jobs and industries that they may wish to pursue in the future

There are so many sectors and industries where young people can volunteer and consequently gain exposure to the type of work they could do in their future career. Through volunteering, young people can ‘try before they buy’. Some options:

  • Interested in working in environmental management? Volunteer with a conversation charity working to protect nature for future generations
  • Looking at a career in sport and recreation? Local clubs rely on volunteers to make their games happen. Whether it’s with basketball, rugby, gymnastics or another activity, there are many ways to gain valuable exposure to the sector through volunteering
  • Is health an area you’re considering for your future career? Charities like St John Ambulance depend on volunteers to provide first aid treatment and training to thousands of people each year
  • Passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion? Organisations striving to promote equality and social justice often look to volunteers for support in delivering services and campaigns
  • Considering a career in social services? Groups working to end homelessness and food insecurity need volunteers on a recurring and ad-hoc basis
  • Maybe arts and culture are on the horizon? Volunteering at a museum or theatre can be a fantastic way to get a foot in the door
  • And many more sectors!

  • Gain transferable skills needed for paid employment

    Volunteering gives young people real life experiences they can discuss in job interviews. It also equips them with skills employers value, like:

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Communicating with clients and stakeholders
  • Adaptability
  • Conflict management
  • And the list goes on!

  • Volunteer activity can be aligned to curriculum

    Students in social services courses like Youth Work or Community Work can volunteer with organisations that support the same clients they will one day work with. This helps them put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom in the real world.

    The Gordon, a further education college with over 13,000 students enrolled each year, used Be Collective to manage volunteering activities in its Youth Work course. The educational institution partnered with charity Ocean Mind to help young people experiencing difficulties feel more accepted, positive and comfortable with their lives. Students from The Gordon volunteered with Ocean Mind to take a hands-on approach to working with young people. It was a great way for the students to gain much needed experience that helps them get work ready.

    Volunteering tailored to young people’s needs

    Every year, over 300,000 young people globally complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award and volunteering makes up a significant component of the award. In fact, the Bronze entry level award alone requires participants to complete three months of voluntary work. That’s a big commitment! Youth organisations like Scouts and Guides also provide volunteering opportunities to millions of young people all around the world. Through these volunteering opportunities, young people are able to develop leadership skills that will stand them in good stead for the future.

    Fostering inclusion

    Volunteering can be a fantastic way to foster inclusion and consequently find new pathways to employment for young people. Through voluntary work, young people who may be disconnected from the community or new to the area have the opportunity to get out and about, meet people and build social connections. These new connections can then be leveraged as references for employment and open fresh avenues to employment.

    Volunteering can also help reduce barriers for people with disability who are seeking employment. In qualitative research, people with disability have indicated that their volunteering helped them to build personal skills, access networking opportunities, and find paid roles. Moreover, volunteering among people with disability can reduce feelings of alienation and loneliness.

    Promote their personal brand with the Social CV from Be Collective

    Doing the volunteering is only one part of the equation when it comes to youth pathways to employment. Young people also need to be able to show the skills and experience they have gained to potential employers. That’s why a Social CV is so important.
    With a Social CV from Be Collective, you can obtain references and recommendations from volunteer managers. What’s more, the Social CV automatically tracks your volunteering and lists the causes supported, the number of hours contributed, and the skills acquired. You easily download it and show future employers the experience you’ve gained as well as the community contribution you’ve made. To get started, visit our Volunteer Portal.

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