From education to employment

New volunteering strategy needed to help students fulfil potential

Students in the FE sector need access to more volunteer opportunities if they are to fulfil their potential, according to new research published today by Volunteering England.

“Assessing the Impact of Volunteering on the FE Sector”, released to coincide with Student Volunteering Week, revealed that only 28% of workers in the FE sector strongly agreed that volunteering was a high priority for their college, compared to 100% of its senior management. Over half of those interviewed, 55% believed that volunteering was supported in their organisation.

The report backed by the Learning and Skills Council and Minister for the Third Sector, Phil Hope, also called for a greater dialogue between education providers and employers, and the creation of a new volunteering strategy for the FE sector.

Volunteering England’s Chief Executive, Justin Davis Smith, explained, “The FE sector has all too often been the poor relation of Higher Education institutions which enjoy a more established and funded infrastructure. However, it is vital that these learners have access to quality volunteering opportunities to enable them to fulfil their potential ““ and this requires support from the FE colleges and Government.”

Minister for the Third Sector, Phil Hope MP, said: “The 42,000 students who already volunteer make a huge contribution to their local communities and supporting and promoting youth volunteering is very high on the Government’s agenda. The talents and energy that young people possess are a valuable resource to society that we must harness. I am particularly excited by the research on expanding volunteering in Further Education.

The study showed that less than half of those students undertaking voluntary work, found their opportunity through a further education institution.

He continued, “I hope soon that FE students will have similar access to volunteering opportunities already enjoyed by higher education students. I wish Volunteering England, and those with whom they are working in partnership, the very best success in implementing the recommendations of their research.”

Jason Seebaruth

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