CSV chief calls on UK to copy US youth volunteer projects

CSV executive director Dame Elisabeth Hoodless has proposed that the Government adopt US volunteering models that provide young people with on-the-job training in social care and other public service roles.

Her comments were included in CSV's submission to the Russell Commission's consultation to develop a national framework to engage young volunteers, which will be published this spring.

Hoodless said: "By having an NHS Corps, Teaching Corps or Care Corps, we would give young people direct experience of the workplace, while ensuring there's a sense of ownership by them and the professions. Young people can decide whether or not the career path suits them."

She also calls for employers and universities to give greater recognition to the learning acquired by young people through volunteering, and wants Chancellor Gordon Brown to assess the value of the contribution of volunteers in terms of savings to the Exchequer.

The comments come at the start of the Year of the Volunteer, which aims to bring volunteering in England to the fore during 2005.

Youth development charity Raleigh International has launched an appeal to celebrate its 21st anniversary, asking its 25,000 previous volunteers to do at least one hour's voluntary work per week throughout 2005. If met, the target would result in 1.3 million hours of volunteering. The charity has also asked people to make volunteering their New Year resolution.

- See Letters, p24.

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