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CIPD suggest ‘win win’ link between volunteering and youth employment

by on September 3, 2014

The CIPD have launched a new report which claims to offer a ‘win win’ plan that ” will get more employees volunteering in effort to lower youth unemployment”.  This is in part linked to the CIPD’s own “Steps Ahead Mentoring” programme which connects CIPD members with young job seekers and a broader initiative to get HR professionals into schools under a programme called ‘Inspiring the Future’.  As is typical of CIPD research reports the emphasis is on case-studies of companies and some (rather limited) focus group discussions with volunteers.  There is also a useful inclusion of views from a small group of charities.

While there is some connection to previous corporate research, there is tendency for the CIPD to present a particularly rosy picture here of volunteers developing skills while helping others – the ‘win-win’ of the headline.    Interestingly the snippets provided by organisations highlight the company benefits, but whether this is really the most effective way for large (wealthy) corporations to tackle youth unemployment is a question that goes unasked.  Moreover there is little attention to the potentially problematic role of corporate volunteering within the voluntary sector and any critical take on the ethics of  CSR more broadly.

While it is obviously great that the CIPD have found so many success stories and we wholeheartedly support the involvement of the HR profession in mentoring young people, a more robust research investigation would be welcome that digs beneath the ‘win-win’ conclusion of this report so that both organisations and volunteers can be fully appraised of the challenges involved and volunteer organisations can be active in shaping programmes suitable for their communities.

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