BRITS VOLUNTEER TO GET JOBS
BRITS VOLUNTEER TO GET JOBS
Record numbers taking part in Orange RockCorps projects
Nearly half taking part in voluntary projects to boost job prospects
Six in ten employers looking for volunteering experience
Record numbers of out-of-work Brits are turning to volunteering initiatives to improve their prospects in the job market, according to a study out today from Orange RockCorps.
The leading volunteering platform surveyed over 3,000 people across the UK, aged between 16 and 65, following a surge in the numbers of people wanting to take part in Orange RockCorps volunteering initiatives this year.
The findings revealed that of the 7.7% of people who are currently unemployed , a quarter (25%) are actively involved in volunteering projects. Nearly half (45%) admitted that they have taken part in projects in the last 12 months in a bid to gain work experience and boost their CVs. Four in ten (43%) of those questioned believed that this would increase their chances of getting a job.
The research revealed the trend is most prevalent among younger job seekers trying to get on the career ladder. The majority (92%) of school leavers aged 16 – 18 and of graduates (19 – 24 year olds) questioned who are currently taking part in volunteering initiatives cited they are doing so to boost employment prospects. This result comes as a recent report by the Association of Graduate Recruiters reveals that the job market for graduates is now tougher than ever, with an average of 83 people applying for each job vacancy. Bleak unemployment figures show that one in five people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work. 
Andy Pearcey, Head of Sponsorship at Orange, says: “We are hearing from many of the 11,000 volunteers taking part in Orange RockCorps initiatives around the country this year that more and more are doing so in a bid to get a leg up in the job market. Volunteering is a great way to get access to hands on experience across a whole spectrum of different industries whilst making a real difference to people’s lives and local communities in the process so it’s great to see people recognising this. It’s also really encouraging to see just how many are successfully using this experience to move into a paid job.”
Stephen Greene, CEO of RockCorps, added: & lsquo;This research confirms what we have long seen on the ground. Orange RockCorps volunteers are inspired from their experience volunteering, working in groups, learning new skills and ways of communicating. Volunteering works.”
When questioned over half of bosses (55%) recognised that volunteering improves a candidates job prospects and over six in ten (61%) actively look for the skills learned from volunteering projects. Nearly half (47%) of the volunteers questioned who had got a job in the last 12 months said that their volunteering work had helped them secure the role. One in ten (11%) cited that it had played a major role.
Richard Taylor, divisional director of Reed Graduates, says: “Having life and work experience skills along with the right mindset can really help candidates to stand out, particularly at a junior level where lots of very similarly qualified individuals are going for the same roles. Volunteering provides the opportunity to learn these essential life skills and demonstrate that you have interests outside the workplace, and as a result can be a very valuable trait on your CV.”
In addition to helping boost CV credentials, respondents revealed that a feel good factor and being able to meet new people were also behind their active involvement in volunteering projects. Two in ten (20 %) had used their volunteering work to raise money for a project, with 10% of volunteers raising over £500.
Helping the elderly and those with physical and mental disabilities are revealed as among the most common forms of volunteering work. Community regeneration and environmental protection are also popular, accounting for nearly a third of all volunteering schemes. Feedback from volunteers reveals that on average they are giving around a day a month to take part in voluntary projects.
Rosie Foster, 26 years old, from Northumberland, comments “The skills, experience and contacts I gained from volunteering helped me to land my dream job working in the music industry. I started out volunteering with a local dance and theatre group when I was at school doing my A-levels. I really enjoyed it so when on my GAP Year I did a 6 month volunteer placement a not-for-profit touring dance theatre company in Canada. These experiences helped build my communication skills and boosted by confidence and gave me real, relevant experience. It was really tough trying to get a job when I finished university as there were so many graduates applying for precious few vacancies but with these skills I landed a paid job with WorldWide Volunteering. This lead to me working for OrangeRockCorps on the music side, which I really enjoyed. Through the contacts I made through various internships and at OrangeRockCorps, I managed to secure a role working for an artist management agency, which has always been my dream job. Without a doubt, my volunteering experiences helped me to get where I am now.”
Orange RockCorps encourages volunteering through the power of music, inspiring people to volunteer within their local community by producing concerts for which you can’t buy a ticket. It has been extremely successful since its UK launch in 2008, having quadrupled its volunteer base to over 130,000 and helped over 300 charities across the country. This year, as part of the expansion of Orange RockCorps, there will be one huge gig at Wembley Arena on 12th July where 11,000 volunteers will be rewarded for their contribution to their local communities. To find out more or get involved visit: www.orangerockcorps.co.uk