Young people 'would be more likely to volunteer if it led to a job or training'

Tom McLaren Webb, deputy chief executive of the BB Group, says volunteering charities should link up to provide opportunities around the country

Tom McLaren Webb
Tom McLaren Webb

Nearly half of young people who do not volunteer would be likely to do so if it led to a job or training, a survey has found.

The research by the BB Group, which includes the youth charities BeatBullying and MindFull, also found that 54 per cent of those who already volunteered would do more if it offered the prospect of employment or training.

The study surveyed 826 young people in June 2013, some of whom volunteered with the group’s programmes and more than 300 of whom did not.

Nearly one in six of those who did not volunteer said they would be more likely to do so if they had the opportunity through their school or college.

Eighty-six per cent said schools and universities should give greater recognition to volunteering by helping them to do it or giving them formal credit for it on university application forms, for example.

Nearly nine out of 10 of the young people surveyed said they volunteered in order to help people, but two-thirds said they also learned new skills. Nearly seven out of 10 said volunteering boosted their confidence.

The survey results appear in a report launched today by a coalition of 18 youth volunteering groups, which also says that some large cities offer relatively few volunteering opportunities for the young.

The report maps youth volunteering opportunities provided by the 18 charities in the coalition, called Generation Change, in more than 20,000 locations in 120 postcodes. It says that large cities, including Edinburgh, Liverpool, Wakefield, Sunderland and Hull, have far fewer volunteering opportunities for young people than some smaller places.

The report says there is a "postcode lottery" in the availability of volunteering placements.

Edinburgh is ranked 58th by the number of locations in the city where young people have volunteered through the 18 organisations in Generation Change. Liverpool, Sunderland and Hull all fail to make the top 30.

However, some smaller places, including Doncaster, Canterbury and Peterborough, have more volunteering opportunities and are in the top 20.

London offers the largest number of volunteering locations, followed by Birmingham, Cardiff and Coventry.

The report concludes that local government, educational institutions and businesses should do more to support and recognise young volunteers.

Tom McLaren Webb, deputy chief executive of the BB Group, said volunteering charities needed to link up to provide opportunities around the country. The charities should also form partnerships with businesses and educational establishments to promote volunteering and link it to employment and training opportunities, he said.

The map of volunteering opportunities can be found at www.generationchange.org.uk.

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