Getting back to employment: can volunteering help you?

Getting back to employment: can volunteering help you?

For more and more people nowadays volunteering has become an important step to employment. Even if you have already had paid jobs in the past, increased competition on the job market would mean that your skills and experiences may not be valued as highly as they would have been previously. Continuous rejections by employers may signal that your CV may need a make-over:  volunteering can help you fix this situation and open a path for you to new and exciting job opportunities!

Can volunteering really help you get a job?

“Yes! 41% of people report that volunteering has helped them get a job”
(Study by Sheffield Volunteer Centre)

“70 per cent of employers would hire a candidate with volunteering experience over someone
 who has never volunteered” 

(Direct Gov.Uk)

How can volunteering help you get a job?

  • Volunteering helps you learn new skills and receive more training which will give you advantage when competing with other candidates for a job position
  • It has a positive effect on your confidence and motivation
  • Volunteering will enable you to create new contacts which can help you find employment in the future (it often happens to be recommended to an employer by someone you have volunteered with)
  • It sends a message to your employers that you are a dedicated and proactive person

Will volunteering affect your benefits?

You can volunteer while you are receiving benefits if the work you do is unpaid and you meet the rules of your benefit. For example if you receive Jobseekers Allowance you must still be actively seeking a full-time job, able to attend job interviews at 48 hours notice and available to work at one week’s notice. You can still receive money from your employer to cover your travel expenses but this does not count as payment and will not affect your benefits.

You should always check with your benefits adviser before you start volunteering. For example, for Council Tax and Housing Benefit contact your local Council, for Jobseeker`s Allowance contact the Jobcentre plus office you are registered with, for other benefits you may have to contact the Pensions Service. For more information on volunteering and your benefits, please follow this link.

Finding a Volunteering Opportunity

The first step to take if you consider starting to work as a volunteer is to register with your nearest Volunteer Centre. The Volunteer Centres are local agencies which help people who would like to volunteer with employers. You can find your nearest centre by clicking here

Another thing to do in your search for volunteering opportunities is to look for positions that may be advertised in local newspapers, the websites of local businesses or community organisations, or in national databases. Please find outlined below a list of websites which you may find useful in your search for volunteering positions:

Do-it (National Volunteering Database)

Guardian Volunteering Jobs

Jobs in Charity Organisations

Volunteering for One-off Events

London.Gov.UK (Volunteering Portal)

 There are various types of businesses and community organisations which offer volunteering opportunities for people at different stages of their professional development. Follow this link to find out more about the different professional areas in which you can gain volunteer experience.

 Where can you find help with finding the right volunteering opportunity for yourself?

 CSV
UK`s Leading Volunteering and Training Charity. The CVS offers part-time and full-time volunteering opportunities across the UK.

 TimeBank
 Can help you decide what you want to do and keep you up to date with the latest volunteering out there.
Telephone: 0845 456 1668

 Reach
A skilled volunteering charity.

Tel: 020 7582 6543

vinspired
Offers a wealth of exciting opportunities for young volunteers aged 16-25

Volunteering England
 Offers practical information, advice and guidance on best practice and what you should expect as a volunteer.

YouthNet
The UK’s first exclusively online charity. They guide and support young people, enabling them to make educated life choices, participate in society and achieve their ambitions. They run a variety of projects that you can get involved in.

This article has been published in Issue 5 of Action for Social Integration’s Community Advice E-Newsletter, August 29th 2010
This entry was posted in Employment Advice. Bookmark the permalink.

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