Revitalise study reveals life-changing advantages of volunteering
As youth unemployment continues to run at around three times the national average, a survey by the national disabled people’s charity Revitalise to mark National Volunteers Week has found that volunteering provides a vital boost for young people to get ahead in the race for the workplace.
Revitalise – which provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers at three UK centres – runs the largest residential volunteer programme of any UK charity and carried out the study to gain insights into the experience of its current and former volunteers.
Each year around 2,000 volunteers give a total of over 4,000 weeks of their time in order to live and work at Revitalise’s centres, enabling the charity’s disabled guests to take full advantage of the inclusive social activities and excursions provided.
The challenges facing younger people in getting a foothold in the world of work were of particular interest to Revitalise, since around 8 out of 10 of its volunteers are aged between 16 and 25.
Revitalise’s survey found that over half the charity’s 16-25 year-old volunteers were unemployed, compared with less than a quarter of 26-45 year-olds. However, 84% of the 16-25 year-olds believed that volunteering had improved their prospects of getting paid work.
Of the 16-25 year-olds now in work, nearly half (48%) said that volunteering had helped them gain paid employment and 80% believed that volunteering had improved their prospects of advancement in their jobs.
Revitalise is holding up the study’s findings as evidence that volunteering can play a vital role in giving young people the confidence and focus to facilitate an easier transition into the world of work.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“Youth unemployment should be of grave concern across the political spectrum. If this issue is not addressed we could end up with a generation of young people who are underprepared for the many challenges of life.
“Feeling a useful part of society is vital to the morale of young people just starting out in life and our survey proves that volunteering for worthy causes of one’s own choosing can work wonders in making young people feel needed and valued.
“Revitalise is over 50 years old and we owe our very existence to the inspirational efforts of volunteers, so I’d like to appeal to young people to try their hand at volunteering with us and give their lives and career prospects a much-needed boost.”
Commenting on her recent experience as a Revitalise volunteer, Sarah Gallagher said:
“When I first arrived at Revitalise I had no confidence and found it extremely difficult to talk to anyone. Now I have become more aware of who I am and have the confidence to lead my own life. I am currently working as a Neurological Rehabilitation Assistant. If it wasn’t for Revitalise and the people I have helped I wouldn’t be where I am now. Working with Revitalise has helped me realise my potential and I now have the confidence to do my nursing degree.”