Volunteering is not only a great way to give something back to your community, but can also give you the skills, training and experience you need for work and study. Here are some examples of what employers and universities have to say about volunteering and Millennium Volunteers.
"Advantage recognises the importance of volunteering as it creates a platform for young people to develop their skill sets and gain invaluable experience for the workplace. The Millennium Volunteers programme provides an excellent stepping stone for young people to bring value to their community, future employers and it enhances their job prospects."
"At APP we highly value the wealth of experience to be gained as a volunteer. Millennium Volunteering provides the stepping stones for personal development and diversity which will improve the prospects of our young people. The knowledge and skills acquired will be a great benefit to their future and subsequently a benefit to their future employers".
Athletics Northern Ireland relies heavily on volunteers in order to run events. Since registering our opportunities with Volunteer Now we have welcomed a wave of new young volunteers in to the sport, and have been really impressed with their commitment and enthusiasm. Job opportunities are relatively rare in our organization, but when the arise in the admin/events department there are a lot of applications and event experience is something that really sets successful applicants out from the rest. Programmes like Millennium Volunteers and other opportunities taken through Volunteer Now provide invaluable experience that can help young people stand out and be successful in their applications.
"The Belfast Media Group advocates through its publications, events and moreover as employers the need to serve our local communities with respect. As part of our surrounding communities we therefore acknowledge the need for the role of the volunteer in all aspects of employment. Volunteering can open up many doors for not only our youth but for all age groups whilst growing experience, nurturing skills, encouraging working relationships with our peers and moreover, experiencing the skills involved in the sharing of work-based knowledge and involvement in communities of practice. Millennium Volunteers are experts in manipulating the potential that volunteering can bring to a company thus improving the quality of the employees in the workplace while fulfilling the needs of the individual who gives his or her time as a volunteer."
"Business in the Community recognises the value that volunteering brings through the development of experience, personal skills and the knowledge of the workplace. Millennium Volunteers provides the structure and recognition to enable young people to add value to their future prospects, to make a difference to their local community and bring a wealth of experience to any organisation which they join."
"At Coca-Cola we believe in the power of volunteering in giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, gain new experiences and grow their self confidence. As a company we are passionate about supporting initiatives that make a real difference to our local community and encouraging our employees to do the same through volunteering is an important part of our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Not only do those who volunteer gain experience for their own development but the new skills, knowledge and perspective they bring back into our business is invaluable."
As a long established community development organisation we recognise that volunteering contributes to a powerful and inclusive community. Voluntary work remains an integral part of the Confederation of Community Group’s ethos and the positive qualities and skills that volunteers bring to their local communities should not be under-estimated.
We have been a local delivery partner for the Millenium Volunteer Programme since its inception and through encouragement, training and support we have witnessed young volunteers build confidence and develop personal skills that has progressed them into education, employment and active participation in the life of their communities.
"Connect Telecom greatly values the skills and experience volunteering provides as well as highlighting to us as an employer the motivation and positive attitude of candidates when hiring. With such a competitive job market, volunteering allows job seekers of any age to improve skills and gain new ones while ultimately providing an admirable edge over other candidates in interviews. We have hired staff that did exactly that by volunteering after school and university which has provided them with invaluable personal qualities and skills which we cannot teach or train."
CMS Global Ltd(headquarters in Banbridge) work with individuals, teams, companies and corporations to 'Make Change Happen.' We believe in engaging people in an adventure so that optimum performance is achieved ensuring an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all. As CMS Global Ltd operates across a variety of commercial, public and voluntary sectors, and specialise in the rapidly developing renewable energy market we can see the huge role that volunteering has to play in encouraging people to integrate within their communities, to give them positive skills and experiences that will last a lifetime (not just adding value to CV’s and interviews) and will make a difference to those who they meet. The Millennium Volunteers programme provides valuable recognition for that sustained commitment.
"Through Danske Bank Staff Volunteer Grants Programme we at Danske Bank value and recognise the vital contribution made by our staff in their own time. The grants are always well received by employees and by the local community groups and charities who benefit. Furthermore in our Freedom Experience Academy we encourage students to stand out from the crowd. One such way to achieve this is through volunteering".
Dig Deep Coaching is a company that recognizes the value in individuals volunteering for different roles within community and how those skills and lessons can be transferred into the workplace to make a potential employee stand out. We encourage and support our staff to volunteer in many different projects and we believe that this experience is a huge benefit to those individuals. For employers this shows us that this individual is enthusiastic, engaging and self motivated which is all essential criteria for us to consider when taking on new staff. We believe in volunteering and we have seen how experienced and trusted volunteers can hugely benefit any business.
Ditty’s Home Bakery is an award winning artisan bakery based in Castledawson, Northern Ireland but supplying freshly baked goods throughout the world. Robert Ditty, owner and master baker, is a committed volunteer understanding the importance of supporting his local community but also disadvantaged communities in poorer countries. Ditty’s Bakery knows and understands the importance of volunteering: the skills gained, the personal and wider impact of involvement. The Millennium Volunteers programme gives young people the opportunity to showcase their commitment and the skills gained and Ditty’s encourages young people to validate their experiences and skills gained through the programme.
"Volunteers play an important role in Downtown Radio and Cool FM’s Cash for Kids. We value anyone who volunteers with us, by taking part in events, helping with admin or even assisting with marketing and event planning. Volunteers ensure that we can maximise any opportunity we have to raise money to support disadvantaged children in Northern Ireland. By volunteering they also gain invaluable hands-on experience and enhance a variety of skills that are desirable to any potential employers or universities."
“We recognise that employee volunteering is very important for personal development and to demonstrate our approach to responsible business. We also believe that volunteering is the bedrock of facilitating social change, creating an awareness of social need and the importance of the contribution from individuals in effecting change. Millennium Volunteers allow young people access to a wide range of opportunities to contribute to our communities and to make a difference that will have a lasting impact on the young people and those they partner with.”
"When recruiting new staff we place significant value on volunteering. As an employer it shows initiative, self-motivation and commitment, all the personal qualities we can’t give you. One of the easiest things for employers is to provide you with training to gain qualifications and specific skills to do the job but we can’t give you those very important personal skills that show you don’t have to be asked to do something to get motivated."
"Lloyds TSB Foundation for NI recognises the benefit that programmes such as Millennium Volunteers offers to both the young people taking part as the volunteer and the host organisation. The Foundation recognises that Millennium Volunteers encourages young people to become more involved in their communities in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way. Skills and experience gained through MV can be beneficial in their future job or educational developments as well as developing an increased sense of citizenship."
“In an increasingly competitive job market, differentiating yourself is crucial to landing your first job. The individual that has gone the extra mile and demonstrated that they have gained valuable, practical experience through Volunteering shows an employer they have initiative, commitment and motivation as well as the desire to ‘give something back’. These qualities are highly valued in the workplace. Furthermore, as organisations become more aware of their corporate social responsibility they will select individuals whose personal and career aspirations match that of the employer.”
“At Queen’s University Belfast we are tremendously proud of the very strong volunteering ethos of our staff and students. Our student-led projects have a profound impact on the social and economic lives of others, both locally and internationally. That’s why each year we recognise the positive contribution made by our staff and students at our SU Volunteering Excellency Awards. We believe strongly in enabling and encouraging our students to participate in volunteering activities. Volunteering has a real impact on the creation of the student community. Those that are involved enhance their student experience and feel they are truly part of something special. Volunteering offers people the chance to develop valuable employability skills, make new friends, learn new skills, showcase a talent, or begin the journey to a wonderful career, but most importantly, as a University that is committed to impacting positively on the world around it, it allows our staff and students to make a difference.”
“ RCity Media are a company that seek to achieve and create a brighter future through the arts of music and media. From award winning and nominated music producers to web designers, RCity Media is very much a company surrounded by and engrossed in creative talent. We understand as a company and as individuals the importance in volunteering and the benefits it serves to future professional development and personal development
We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated, committed, creative, fun and passionate people to come onboard and work with us and for us at RCity Media.
"Sainsbury’s understands the importance of volunteering through its Local heroes Scheme which recognises and rewards the charitable activities of colleagues for local causes and puts local communities at the heart of its business. The skills and experiences gained through volunteering are invaluable once brought back into the business and as our research has shown impact significantly on how our employees feel about working for us and the wider community around them."
“You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job” – that is a phrase that is being constantly thrown about these days, especially among recent graduates. The frustrating truth is that many organisations get thousands of applications for single jobs and it is evident that those with more experience are those most likely to get the post. Volunteering is therefore incredibly important to branch out your CV.
SlackPress began with 3 graduates who were under-employed or standing in the Job Centre every two weeks waiting for their Job Seekers Allowance. We had all the skills and determination yet our CVs didn’t stand up to others who had a few more years experience. That’s why we understand the importance of getting a few volunteer roles under your belt.
Volunteering enables you to build upon your knowledge and use your skills in real-life scenarios. It gets you networking with other professionals and allows you to make connections with people who could ultimately help your career. It allows you to test yourself in the job market and although it isn’t paid in money, the experience is always worth it.
We would urge anyone to fill his or her spare time effectively. Give back to your community by helping others and in turn your experience will give you a headstart against all the other applications you turn yours in with.
STA Travel believes in the power of volunteering not only in terms of giving something back and providing valuable skills where they are most needed but also in terms of providing amazing experiences for those volunteering.
This is why STA Travel offers customers the opportunity to participate in volunteering projects worldwide through its extensive range of volunteer trips. This enables our customers to have new experiences and to fully engage themselves in the cultures they are visiting whilst providing sustainable tourism opportunities for the communities and support to the charities.
But we realise that charity begins at home and we’re proud to be a part of the local communities we live and work in. Everyone at STA Travel can use one paid day each year to volunteer at a charity project of their choice in their local area. This could be anything from sprucing up public gardens to delivering an employability workshop in a local school. It’s a chance for our staff to get out of the office or store, meet new people, and give something back whilst developing and sharing skills.
The amazing thing with volunteering is that even giving a few hours of your time can make the difference between a charity being able to deliver a service or not and the benefits you get as an individual in terms of experience and skills development are often surprising!
Stranmillis University College is committed to the development of a community of learners who graduate with the professional and academic skills which will enable them to make a positive contribution to their chosen profession. At Stranmillis, careers support is closely aligned with employability and supporting students in developing the skills and attributes necessary for successful transition into employment, we recognise that these skills are equally as important to employers as the academic qualifications. We actively promote and support volunteering among students as a way to gain these vital skills, gain exposure to workplace culture, make valuable connections and put their learning into practice outside of the classroom. With the support of Volunteer Now, we have access to a wide range of volunteering opportunities, their passionate and committed staff have delivered presentations to promote the benefits of volunteering and Stranmillis has now become a delivery partner in Millennium Volunteers. Our partnership with Volunteer Now has helped us to foster an environment where volunteering is fast becoming commonplace among our students. Through participation in the Millennium Volunteers scheme we want to ensure that eligible students are getting the appropriate recognition for what they do.
Tesco are a proud and passionate aviation supporting projects and organisations in our community. Many of our employees volunteer and gave up their own time to help out with various different projects. The most recent project we have done with our employees and the maintenance team was when we went to a derelict building and completely revamped it, from new electrics to painting the building and making it a place for people to come into. This building is now used for a food bank in which families can come to and get food support for free. It was an amazing project to be a part of and now because of that, thousands of families do not have to go hungry.Tesco also have "the big 6" and this is made up of 6 different focus for each quarter and one of them is "community" so it is very important that we are volunteering when and whre possible.
"Skills and aptitudes gained from involvement and experience in the broader learning environment often prove vital in enabling students to successfully complete the transition into higher education. Millennium Volunteers incorporates many of these important elements and has the potential to empower students to put their learning, through volunteering, to best use in the real world of higher education."
Are you an employer, university or college? What's your experience of recruiting and working with young people who have volunteering experience?
We would like to hear your stories to help us promote volunteering to get more young people involved and more businesses and education institutions recognising the difference volunteering makes. Contact the Youth Team for more information.