A new report from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, unveils a framework to get more employees volunteering to help young people get into work
The report, ‘Volunteering to learn: Employee development through community action,’ shows how volunteering activities can have hidden benefits for businesses if they link schemes to staff development. Not only can voluntary activity give staff new and varied opportunities to enhance their skills, but if integrated into the organisation’s wider learning and development strategy, it could have a longer term impact on organisational success.
The report features a range of businesses such as National Grid, Marks and Spencer and Nationwide, who are all actively promoting CSR within their organisations and focusing on schemes which help young people. At National Grid, they make a direct effort to ensure that all employees have equal access to volunteering opportunities. Kate Van Der Plank, Head of UK Community Action at National Grid, said: “Working closely with our HR team, we focus on volunteer activities which create shared value for society as well as our business and we’ve already seen great results”.
Volunteering schemes may be developed internally or link up with existing national initiatives. The CIPD supports a number of volunteering initiatives as part of the Learning to Work programme, as part of a wider agenda to promote greater engagement between employers and young people:
- Steps Ahead Mentoring is a free monitoring programme run by the CIPD that matches HR professionals with young jobseekers aged 18 to 24. There are over 1,600 CIPD members signed up to the programme and, during the extended pilot, 73% of the young jobseekers who completed the programme went on to find employment.
- The CIPD supports ‘Inspiring the Future’, run by the Education and Employers Taskforce, a free national initiative to get professionals into state schools and colleges to deliver careers insight talks, and CV advice sessions.
- The report also reflects the CIPD’s commitment to the Step Up To Serve campaign, as an increasing number of adult volunteers are required to help support young people and achieve the campaign’s aim to increase participation of 10–20-year-olds in meaningful social action to 50% by 2020.
The CIPD research draws on the Corporate Citizenship report – ‘Volunteering: the Business Case’ – which tracked the learning and development of almost 550 employees from 16 major City firms volunteering in schools and colleges across the UK.