Youth volunteering 'should offer some sort of financial incentive'

A report has warned that the Government's youth volunteering agenda might appeal only to the middle class.

In Making Volunteering Count, UK Youth highlights the need for charities to offer volunteering opportunities with more tangible benefits. It argues that altruism alone is not attractive enough, particularly for young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The report, the first in a series, was launched at a seminar chaired by minister for the third sector Ed Miliband on Monday.

Based on in-depth interviews with about 100 young people between the ages of 15 and 25, the study found nearly 80 per cent of respondents would be more likely to volunteer if they thought it would help them get jobs.

Just under 60 per cent said the main reason for their voluntary activity was to improve their employment prospects.

"A number of the young people we spoke to said they couldn't afford to volunteer," said a spokeswoman for UK Youth, which develops education programmes for young people. "There needs to be some sort of financial incentive.

"This doesn't mean payment but, for example, some kind of accreditation or chance to develop skills that would improve an individual's job prospects."

The spokeswoman added that employers should value the benefits of volunteering more highly.

UK Youth is planning to commission a larger study that will involve talking to about 3,000 young people who have never volunteered.

"This is the first time a study such as this has been done," said the spokeswoman. "We hope it will give us an insight into how to target hard-to-reach groups."

ALSO... Innocent individuals have been branded as criminals and refused work with charities as part of a mix-up at the Criminal Records Bureau.

About 1,500 people from all sectors were incorrectly labelled criminals by the CRB. The mistake occurred when applicants had similar details to people with convictions.

Nineteen-year-old Emma Budd from Glamorgan paid £34 for a check when she applied for a position working with disabled children at NCH.

But when the check came back, it mistakenly claimed that she had two convictions for theft. Budd has spent the past two years trying to have her records amended.

Leonard Cheshire admitted that the same thing occurred to someone who recently applied for a job there.

"We have 1,200 checks done a year," said Clare Smith, HR director at the charity. "This is the only time it has happened, which is not bad."

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