FOOD FOR THOUGHTS - Supporting researches

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Volunteering make an important contribution to the global economy. In Europe for instance, there are circa 100 million volunteers, who represent the equivalent of 20, 8 million full-time jobs and make a €227 million contribution to the European economy.

Yet, apart from economical reasons, volunteering truly contributes to the European Union. As a matter of fact, volunteering has various advantages and can even be a real blessing, not only to those who benefit from voluntary works but also to those dedicated to voluntary activities. First, volunteering gives you a sense of belonging; second, it helps you develop more social skills and eventually, volunteering enhances your employability. Thus, at length, volunteering can help a youngster keeping out of social exclusion.


A sense of belonging . . .


Photo Food for thoughts

Researchers, such as Steven Bradsbury and Tess Kay, have proven that being involved in voluntary activities help youngsters developing their sense of belonging, or social capital as they name it.

It provides them indeed with a form of social participation that potentially engages them in community-oriented activities. Moreover, according to these researchers, volunteering empowers young people as resourceful individuals and contributes to the development of their citizenship and social capital, which helps them staying out of exclusion situation.


Developing social skills . . .


Food for thoughts - Developing social skills . . .

Apart from developing its social connectedness, volunteering helps the youth acquire more social skills. As a matter of fact, volunteering provide the youth with opportunities to take on responsibilities and grow as a person. According to a study conducted by the British National Youth Agency, it especially increases their self-confidence and self-esteem insofar as it helps them develop a wide range of communication skills, engage them in situation they may never had to face before and require teamwork, leadership as well as the ability to negotiate or resolve conflicts.


Enhancing the youth’s employability . . .


Food for thoughts - Enhancing the youth’s employability . . .

Eventually, researches, such as the one conducted by the British National Youth Agency, have shown that being involved in voluntary activities helps youngsters in their job prospects. In this study, young people indeed reported developing a variety of practical skills as a result of their volunteering, for instance ICT and office skills, gardening, food preparation, creative skills and the ability to work with specific groups, such as children or people in hospital. Many of them explicitly linked these skills to potential career areas and improved employability in general.

One young person in particular explains how volunteering had helped him get a job at a car body shop after being unemployed for over two years: I volunteered to show I was able to work and developed a range of skills I now use at work including handling money customer service skills.

Yet, nowadays, having a job is one of the best ways to stay out of exclusion situation. Thus, if volunteering can enhance the youth’s employability, it should be promoted!