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Businesses backing youth volunteering

  20th November 2013      
 Company News

Businesses backing youth volunteering help boost the employability of tomorrow’s workforce

New CIPD research highlights the business gains to be made from supporting youth volunteering programmes that provide vital work experience and skills for employment

Corporate backed volunteering, where businesses support young people to deliver social action projects, boosts local communities and helps to break down the barriers between young people and employers.  These are the key findings of new research published today by the CIPD, ahead of a major national push on youth social action to be announced on Thursday. The report, ‘Youth social action and transitions into work: what role for employers?’, is being launched alongside a CIPD developed employment guide for young people, based on feedback from recruiters.

With nearly one in five young people out of work, evidence highlighted by the CIPD shows that one of the main barriers that young people face when seeking employment is a lack of prior work experience and insight into the world of work. Volunteering projects supported by businesses such as those involving Telefónica UK, EDF Energy and The Co-Operative Group, all featured in today’s report; tackle these barriers by bringing young people and business together in a mutually beneficial partnership. The research identified a number of social, employee and organisational benefits to be gained via the schemes, including:

  • Youth social action programmes are a good opportunity for employees to develop their leadership and people management skills and better understand how to relate to the next generation. They are also seen to increase employees’ motivation and long term commitment to the organisation.
  • A positive impact on the company brand. Almost 50 per cent of new recruits to EDF Energy cite the company’s work in the community as a factor in choosing to work for the organisation.
  • The young volunteers gain confidence and develop capabilities that will serve them well in the workplace, such as teamwork and project management skills. They become ‘well-rounded’ individuals who are more employable and switched on to the issues facing their local communities.
  • The schemes help to shift restrictive and damaging stereotypes of young people. 97 per cent of adults engaged in the Co-Operative Truth about Youth programme agreed that their experience of working with young people had challenged their perceptions of them.
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