Volunteering brings benefits for all

Volunteering benefits companies, employees and society

Volunteering benefits companies, employees and society

Around the world thousands of employees are participating in the global Give & Gain Day.

Give & Gain Day is a global celebration of volunteering during work time, involving approximately 15000 volunteers worldwide. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the power of volunteering by engaging thousands of people to take part. Approximately 15,000 business volunteers across the world, from 240 companies will give almost 74,000 hours volunteering time today, benefitting hundreds of community organisations. Projects involve everything from introducing school kids to sports and promoting healthy lifestyles, to employability workshops with the long term unemployed, and revitalising a community garden. The initiative aims to encourage and challenge many more businesses to invest time in their communities.

Tina Varns, Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing Manager at Waitrose, sponsors of Give & Gain Day in the UK for the last three years, says, “Volunteering is such an important part of what we do – each of our branches supports its staff (Partners) to volunteer for local good causes. Waitrose donates paid hours for Partners to give their time and skills to support local good causes. This really comes alive on Give & Gain Day. Volunteering is a key way for businesses to make a real and visible difference to the communities in which we operate, at the same time it offers staff the opportunity to develop their own skills in a way that’s different from every day operations.”

This year, new research conducted by the charity Business in the Community shows that young people aged 18 to 24 in Britain volunteer more (57%) and are using volunteering to further their career aims (38%) and gain new skills (48%) to a greater degree than any other age group. In contrast people in all age groups over 24 volunteer to fulfil more traditional desires to ‘give back’ and contribute to their local community (56% on average).

The poll of 2,000+ British adults carried out by YouGov found that nearly three in five 18-24 year olds (57%) have volunteered in the past 3 years compared to 31% of 25-34 year olds, 31% of 35-44 year olds and 30% of those 55+.

Young people are volunteering for very different reasons to other age groups. Forty-eight per cent of volunteers aged 18-24 feel that volunteering has helped them to develop new skills. Another 38% feel volunteering has boosted their career options compared to just 16% of 25-34 year olds and 9% of 45-54 year olds.

This information highlights to companies – including hotels – that young people around the world are hungry for opportunities that help them to learn about and experience work in different sectors and are keen to pick up relevant skills to further their career.

ITP youth employability programme the Youth Career Initiative can help hotels bridge the gap between the global youth unemployment crisis, and the lack of young talent to recruit from. The six month programme of classroom based learning and real-world experience in up to 15 departments of a full service hotel has an 85% success rate of graduates going on to employment within the sector, in other industries or returning to further education. For more information on how your hotel can access YCI, visit their website.

The survey also found that young people have the highest expectation of business and its role in society, with 62% of employees aged 18-24 feeling that their employer could do more to connect with the local area. This is compared to 49% of employees aged 45-54 and 48% of over 55s respectively. This shows that hotels with clear outreach programmes that benefit their local neighbourhood and community will have a more engaged and loyal workforce.

Across all age groups, the poll showed that employers are not mobilising their people to engage in local communities, with just 10% of all adults saying they’ve volunteered through their employer during work time in the past 3 years.

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive Business in the Community said, “Businesses are being increasingly strategic about volunteering as a way to not only make a difference but also to build skills and gain insight about their communities. It’s clear from our poll that savvy young recruits are realising that simply giving back isn’t enough - instead they’re using volunteering smartly to further their career aspirations and get ahead. Yet just 10% of people polled had volunteered in work time, highlighting a huge untapped opportunity for business to take employee volunteering seriously. Doing so will not only help attract the next generation of talent, but it will also create communities that are better places to live, work and do business.”

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