Social mobility and volunteering: Identifying opportunities that count

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This seminar was the third in a series of seminars focusing on volunteering in a fair society organised by IVR in partnership with the ESRC and Northumbria University. This event explored how individuals and communities can most effectively make their voices heard.

Dr Bryony Hoskins, Senior lecturer (Southampton University) discusses the interest in volunteering, employment and mobility.

Past presentations from the Institute of Volunteering Research website can be found at the following location - http://www.ivr.org.uk/ivr-events/ivr-past-events

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Social mobility and volunteering: Identifying opportunities that count

  1. 1. Social mobility and volunteering: identifying opportunities that count Dr Bryony Hoskins, Senior Lecture, University of Southampton
  2. 2. Set the seen and frame the debates • Certain types of volunteering could contribute to mobility for some young people • Review of the existing evidence • Identify outstanding questions
  3. 3. Why the interest in volunteering, employment and mobility? • NGOs need to find finance in crises • Politicians need solutions to get youth into work Why volunteering? • Similar aspects to work • Learn work culture and skills • A form of apprenticeship
  4. 4. Debates on inequality of access to volunteering • ‘economy of experience’ when everyone has a degree - the critical edge • Used by middle class parent to build kids CV and give ‘enhanced personality package’ (Heath 2007)
  5. 5. Youth’s attitudes to volunteering Motivation for full time volunteering • Gaining work experience and training • Building up CV and qualifications • Internships or unpaid work experience were likely to be more valuable in forwarding their career Greatest barrier • Money (live at home and be supported by parents to do it) (V commissioned 2009 Mori Pol & focus groups)
  6. 6. How volunteering differs from work or work experience Aims • Altruism, solidarity, helping others, active citizenship • Without the purpose of financial gain • Learn attitudes and values human rights, equality, solidarity, public spiritedness, duty, importance of civic engagement and self-efficacy
  7. 7. How volunteering differs from work or work experience Not designed as work experience or adult training programmes for employability • Definition tension (work experience schemes) • Often no accreditation or qualifications • Volunteering for the unemployed can be useful anyway to build citizenship values & attitudes
  8. 8. Evidence: longitudinal surveys Association with early volunteering experience • Completing higher education  • For those in employment an association with higher occupation status  • But not being a NEET  Surveys lack nuanced questions on volunteering NFER using British Household Panel Data (provisional findings)
  9. 9. Who volunteers? Characteristics of the volunteer (across many studies) • Highly educated • Wealthy • Older (over 50) • Female
  10. 10. Who has access to different types of volunteering? Less formal, less public, learning not explicit and experiences less recognised on a CV Formal, public, organised, structured, can be certified or clear learning outcomes, Competitive Types of Volunteering Education levels Income Occupation levels Inspired from research results from Bulloch, S. & J. Mohan 2012 using citizenship survey
  11. 11. Access to elite ‘bonding’ volunteering Elite volunteering (bonding social capital) – professional associations, political parties, trade unions, religious organisations – NEETS 60% less likely to do this – Even less if a young carer More open associations (bridging social capital) – welfare organisations, local community action, third world development, human rights, environment, peace movements, health organisations – No statistical difference between groups (Eurofound research on NEETS and volunteering)
  12. 12. Evidence: Gap years • Hierarchy of gap year experiences for university places and employability – Volunteering abroad better than UK – Doing poorly paid jobs to pay for university least well viewed • City and guild qualification (Heath 2007)
  13. 13. Evidence: volunteering for those on incapacity benefits • Many activities undertaken by the volunteers not developing relevant skills for labour market (specific manual tasks) • Operational needs of charity prioritised over skill development of volunteers • Volunteers appreciated the aspects which were not like employment – lack of compulsion – flexibility over time – Less stressful – Felt valued (PhD by J. Lee)
  14. 14. Evidence: evaluation of pilot study for the national citizenship service • Middle class kids – Similar previous experience – took on the leadership roles – gained confidence and felt more part of the community • Working class kids – In particular those with responsibilities of care at home took a back seat in the community action projects – Continued mistrust and fear in community – Loss of contacts with people from other social backgrounds – Less impact (Strathclyde university)
  15. 15. In what type of volunteering? Greater recognition of informal volunteering Take place abroad Run with elite organsiations Organise specific opportunities for disadvantaged groups only Formal, public, organised, structured, can be certified or clear learning outcomes, Competitive Less formal, less public, learning not explicit and experiences less recognised on a CV Types of Volunteering Education levels Income Occupation levels
  16. 16. Can opportunities be opened up for disadvantaged youngsters? • Competitive advantage (only for disadvantaged) • High status • Clear learning outcomes that match employment needs of high status occupations • Certified • Organised with elite organisations who will help build social capital (political parties, professional associations, business & trade unions) • Conducted abroad (seen to build independence)
  17. 17. Remaining questions • Test the extent that access to these certain types of volunteering can create mobility – More precise questions (type and duration) in longitudinal research on types of volunteering – Evaluation of schemes that open access to elite forms of volunteering • Further analysis on National Citizenship Service and delivery for disadvantaged groups • Further research on what is actually learnt on voluntary activities

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