Involving young people in volunteering

What works?

Williams J |   | The Careers & Enterprise Company | Nov 2017

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This paper, authored by IES research fellow, Joy Williams, on behalf of the Careers & Enterprise Company, considers the benefits of involving young people in volunteering. The paper draws out the lessons from the existing evidence on 'what works' in involving young people in volunteering, in order that schools, colleges and providers of careers and enterprise programmes can effectively support young people with volunteering.

The research highlights that the benefits of volunteering are widespread and that young people should be encouraged to volunteer for as long a period as possible. Evidence suggests that volunteering can have a significant and observable impact on skill development and career readiness.

The research involved a review of the relevant literature, such as programme evaluation reports and other literature reviews, and also offers a helpful definition of what is meant by 'volunteering'.

The research evidence points to the fact that programme design can impact the benefits that can be gained through volunteering. The paper therefore offers six key elements that comprise an effective volunteering programme. These include the programme's ability to attract young people; to offer closure for those that have volunteered; and to offer a range of opportunities which require different levels of commitment, to guarantee that young people are encouraged to volunteer for as long a period as possible.