Young people who mentor others will dramatically improve their employment prospects, a senior Whitbread staffer told volunteers last week.
Several young volunteers showcased their projects and motivations to MPs and corporate bosses at a London event to launch the Year of the Volunteer's Youth and Children month.
Among them were three teenage volunteers at the Muslim Youth Helpline.
"For me, volunteering was about helping others first," said Amina Al-Yasin, 17.
Mentoring experience provides a leg-up at hospitality company Whitbread, according to Piers Blake, its head of community investment. "We have an aspiration that every senior manager in our business will have some degree of mentoring experience, and if they haven't got it, then they won't progress."
Martin Jermyn, 18, and Stephen Ferguson, 16, both admitted they had built up impressive volunteering portfolios to boost their careers. "You can meet corporate bosses and millionaires who might be useful in later life," said Jermyn, whose first taste of volunteering was to set up a mentoring group for children at his school.
Ferguson welcomed the idea of a nationally recognised accreditation certificate: "If someone clocks up, say, 200 hours of volunteering experience, an award of some kind should be given to help career prospects."