[Sub ID 4549] Volunteering: Pathway to Employment (Volunteering Victoria)

Submission ID: 4549
Organisation name: Volunteering Victoria
State: VIC
Contact email: e.sharp@volunteeringvictoria.org.au

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
This program will seek to implement a formal structure to support volunteering as a pathway to employment.

A 2013 U.S. report found that volunteers have 27% higher odds of being employed; research for SEEK.com.au showed 95% of hirers see volunteering as credible real-work experience. Yet in Victoria, volunteering participation amongst ages 15-17 is much lower than the national average: 25% compared to 41%. Anecdotal evidence suggests that young people struggle to find volunteering roles that support their employment goals. Conversely, under-resourced organisations are reticent to invest in young volunteers, worried they will leave once they have secured paid employment.

Youth unemployment is concentrated in geographic areas of Victoria including the Western suburbs (14.9%), Latrobe Valley (18.7%) and Geelong (13.3%); we propose to pilot our project in these areas.

Government programs such as Mutual Obligation, PaTH and Work for the Dole are not truly voluntary; we know that individuals who volunteer willingly are more likely to stay. A structured model for engaging unemployed young people in volunteering as a pathway to employment would allow the government to gain empirical evidence around volunteerism’s role in employability and provide a cost-effective model for upskilling young people while injecting new volunteers into the community.

What is your idea?
We will develop, test, rigorously evaluate and roll out our structured initiative Volunteering: Pathway to Employment to launch 18-25-year-old job seekers into employment via volunteering.

VV will create a formal structure that utilises new technologies and considers the needs of job seekers, volunteer involving organisations (VIOs) and employers with the specific aim of employment as an outcome. The approach will incorporate user-focused design that considers the way that young people access volunteering opportunities as well as how to leverage these volunteering opportunities into paid employment.

The program will be the first of its kind to combine a mix of centralised, local face-to-face and new online services, to enable young people to access work-like volunteer placements, relevant support services, and to connect with local employers.

The model will be designed so that it can be adapted and led by organisations Australia wide.

The program will include:

  • Market research to build a profile of young participant job seekers
  • Marketing/communications to recruit young people, VIOs, employers and other participants into the program
  • Volunteer placements in VIOs will be tailored to the needs of participants
  • Development and delivery of online and face-to-face training, supporting information, resources and tools both job seekers, VIOs and employers