New £9m fund to encourage sixth-formers to volunteer

Talent Year FE programme will pay for champion in every college

Youth volunteering charity v is launching a £9m fund to encourage students at sixth-form colleges to do voluntary work.

The programme is the latest strand in the government-backed organisation's Talent Year programme, a national volunteering programme to match young volunteers with placements in the public sector.

The new programme, called Talent Year FE, will support one volunteer in each of 32 colleges for two years to set up new volunteering programmes for students and act as a champion for voluntary work.

The ‘champions' will not be paid but it is expected that they will receive personal development grants to help with education or training costs. It is likely that they will be local
people aged between 16 and 25 who are not in employment, education or training, such as university graduates struggling to find work.

The new volunteering schemes will include mentoring and buddying systems for hard-to-reach young people, learning support services and projects supporting the transition from school to further education.

A spokeswoman for the charity declined to comment on the programme, but said more details would be released in the coming weeks.

Richard Budden, national secretary of the National Union of Students, welcomed the new scheme. "Encouraging young people to take on this big responsibility will be good for their personal development, but also good for changing young people's impressions of what volunteering is about," he said.

But freelance volunteering consultant Debbie Usiskin said the new roles should be paid positions.

"Encouraging students to volunteer is of value to society and requires a lot of skill and know-how, so we shouldn't expect people to do it for free," she said.

"Suggesting that this is a job for a volunteer will be a kick in the teeth to paid student volunteering officers working at universities, many of whom are about to be made redundant."

The charity's Talent Year programme was launched in March. Its first initiative was to set up a £10.5m fund offering volunteers aged between 16 and 25 week-long placements in children and young people's services run by local

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