By Vanessa Ash
Having a degree qualification does not guarantee a ‘high flying’ job or even a job. Our economy is still struggling with the recession; 30.4 per cent of the 18-24 age group have been unemployed for over a year, and the numbers continue to grow. One in three recent graduates are employed in lower skilled jobs than originally intended.
In this tough job market; graduates need an edge over their competition; could a possible solution be volunteering? Volunteering is significant in increasing an individual’s job prospects. 87 per cent of employers regard volunteering as a ‘positive effect on career progression for young people’.
Of course which activities you volunteer in should be parallel to your career focus as this is more likely to prepare you for a permanent role and employers may be more likely to consider you for a position.
Volunteering makes a statement
Spending your time, helping others for free shows that you are not purely motivated by money. Employers admire this and will get the impression that you are a dedicated, motivated worker. 73 per cent of employers would employ candidates with volunteering experience over those without.
Employers expect certain levels of work experience
Volunteering as opposed to most internships – allows volunteers to stay on as long as they want to; this benefits the volunteers as they can reach the level of experience they feel they need before they choose to leave. This is particularly useful when employers require 6 months plus of experience; the volunteer will gain sufficient experience to ease them into their new job.
Volunteering increases your confidence which translates well to employers
Volunteering can give you a positive attitude and sense of accomplishment; 88 per cent of volunteers say volunteering gives them a sense of personal achievement’, 83 per cent say it ‘gives me the chance to do things that I am good at’ and 97 per cent say they get ‘a sense of satisfaction from seeing the results’.
Feeling that you are able to contribute effectively and being passionate about what you have achieved will increase your self -confidence which will come across well to employers and increase your chances of landing a job.
Individuals with free time, the unemployed and those in between careers can keep their brains active by being productive. Instead of being stuck in mundane routines you will be in the process of learning and encountering social interactions which are new to you, helping develop your skills set.
In today’s job market achieving relevant work experience will increase your chances of being considered for employment over another graduate with no experience; volunteering is highly desirable to employers.
Children tend to love playing outdoors with other children. It is so much fun to be surrounded with other children at school who can share your interests in playing sport, action jumping, running activities and everything in between.
It always seems to be never-ending fun for them in the school playground. Children never get tired or bored. This is an image that we all are used to – seeing children smiling and generally happy at school is an ordinary thing for many of us in the UK. And it is great!
Thanks to the ‘Burma 2012’ project that was completed last year, many children living in small villages like Thin Yone Pyan, Kwai Thay and Kan Ni in Burma (Myanmar) have begun to experience the same. Three new schools were built for the local communities with funding provided by True Volunteer Foundation and its supporters. The new schools were completed in partnership with Heal Kids Foundation and provide schooling, support and not to mention fun to 180 local children per year.
The project has changed many Burmese children’s and their parent’s everyday lives. It has got much brighter and busier. Exploring the world through education is an exciting and new activity for the local children. This is how some of the children describe their new experience’ I love to meet my friends at school’, ‘Now I can tell interesting stories to my little brother’, ‘I like to draw’ etc. These are just a few examples on how encouraging school can be for someone who had not had an opportunity to experience it before.
TVF is currently running a ‘Burma needs school’ campaign. We will tell more about it our next blog post.
In 2010, the Education Secretary Michael Gove proposed to axe £162m in ring-fenced funding for a national network of School Sports Partnerships. In the wake of an outcry from athletes, pupils and opposition MPs Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a partial U-turn; however, the ring-fenced funding was still cut by 69 per cent and only guaranteed until 2013. So why is sports education the first to be cut?
As financial austerity measures begin to take their toll the balancing act of what to fund and what to cut becomes more challenging. UK school budgets are extremely tight and any required savings tend to come from deleting or reducing certain aspects of the curriculum. Due to the importance placed on more traditional subjects such as English, Maths, Science and History, subjects with less academic weight lose out on funds once budgets become tighter.
Sports education tends to fall in the latter category, and with these cuts heavily affecting schools it is feared that this will greatly impact on the amount of sport that is played by children both now and in the future. Adding to this concern is the drive towards selling off precious playing fields; to date 22 sport pitches across London have been approved for sale, which does not support the 2012 Olympic legacy.
Many studies highlight that the amount of hours children spend indoors on computer games is in keeping with their becoming less active. In addition high computer game usage does not allow children to envisage a realistic future career, which, as a result, could affect their school achievements. This is extremely unfortunate as sports education is critical to a child’s development. Sport provides young people with the opportunity to express themselves and provides important lessons in teamwork, discipline and motivation. It also allows young people to experience life to its fullest, encouraging self-belief, drive and enthusiasm. This far outweighs them spending too much time indoors watching video games, potentially exposing them to games of a violent nature and which do not teach children the proper meaning of life.
The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games swept Great Britain with sporting fever and shone a spotlight on the important role sport has to play. Team GB had 550 athletes competing in the Olympics and working with them were 450 accredited staff and 300 volunteers. This shows that sport not only creates sporting champions and brings people together around a common cause but truly harnesses a spirit and belief that through hard work and perseverance anything is possible. As public budgets for sports grow tighter it is critical that the UK looks to find new ways of working together across the public and private sectors to protect sports education for its children and secure the legacy for which the 2012 Olympics set the stage.
To find out more on what True Volunteer Foundation are doing to address this, please visit the Wimbledon Sporting Project page.
We are very excited to welcome you to our brand new website and blog. Browse through the site to learn about our unique principles and discover how we work with True Volunteers, the Corporate Sector, Universities, Governments and small charities to changes lives. View our projects and take a tour of TVF’s Global Footprint via the interactive world map. Visit the Recruitment Zone and apply on line to join us and help others by engaging in a Social Career today. Watch this space for current news and opinions on Volunteering, Education, Corporate Social Responsibility, Micro-Finance and International Development.