Working Life: Clare Baars on the joy of enthusing young people

The volunteer and employability manager talks about the challenges and rewards of her work at Worldskills UK

Clare Baars
Clare Baars

WorldSkills UK promotes technical skills and apprenticeships in the UK by coordinating regional and national skills competitions for young people in everything from hairdressing to IT security.

It runs the annual Skills Show, a massive annual careers event held at the Birmingham NEC, which is also the skills competitions national final. For that we'll be engaging about 500 volunteers to help with everything from building and takedown of the event through to customer service and directing people around the event.

I'm keen to draw volunteers from a broader pool of people than we have done in previous years. We're looking for young people who are enthusiastic about pursuing careers in event or project management or in customer service.

I'm also working to engage more volunteers to help in the office, which is pretty new for the organisation - but I've seen it work elsewhere to great effect. What I'm doing in the office really depends on which project I'm working on. I visit careers advisers, develop recruitment materials, get in touch with external suppliers and work with job centres to promote opportunities to people who are not in employment, education or training. Skills Show volunteers come away with a credible qualification and experience, which can be very helpful.

The most challenging thing for me is developing appealing volunteering roles to suit the lifestyles of younger people, which aren't too demanding and can work around their time commitments. I started this role in March - I'd previously managed volunteers at a regional level for the Alzheimer's Society and Action on Hearing Loss - I was amazed by the way volunteers and competitors seized the opportunities and honed their skills.

The younger generation can get a bad rap in the press - what I love about the job is that it celebrates positive things young people are achieving. Their enthusiasm is a motivator for me.

WorldSkills UK champions apprenticeships and technical skills to support business competitiveness and young people's employability

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