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Middlesex develops academic credit for volunteer workers

Middlesex University and Barnet Voluntary Services will hold a joint event on Monday 22 February, aimed at current and potential volunteers, and voluntary organisations.

Middlesex University and Barnet Voluntary Services will hold a joint event on Monday 22 February, aimed at current and potential volunteers, and voluntary organisations.

The event is designed to show how volunteering can help to develop and boost key workplace skills. The University is also currently exploring ways in which volunteering experience can be formally recognised, and attendees at the event will have the chance to input ideas on this.

Despite optimism about the economy this year, recent graduates and people who have been made redundant may still be struggling to find permanent employment. Volunteering can offer many opportunities to develop workplace skills such as self-management, team working, business and customer awareness, problem solving, communication, positive attitude and enterprise. Volunteers form the backbone of many charitable and voluntary organisations - for example, almost 45,000 volunteers worked with Cancer Research UK in 2009 - and some volunteers stay with their chosen organisation for years.

For younger age groups such as new or recent graduates, college leavers or people who have been made redundant during the recession, gaining added workplace experience which will help them in their search for paid employment can be as much of a motivation for volunteering as their empathy for the organisation they choose to volunteer with.

The Conference will explore some of these issues, and review what specific training and learning would be of most benefit to volunteers, particularly those who want to improve their employment prospects. 

By developing a study programme specifically aimed at volunteers, Middlesex University will be able to offer volunteers the chance to really use their volunteering experience in seeking employment or promotion. The Conference will be an opportunity to gain volunteers’ views on what content would be most appropriate for such a programme - these ideas will contribute to the development of a formal Work Based Learning volunteering programme facilitated by Middlesex University.

Middlesex already offers a range of volunteering options to students and staff, either at the University or at volunteer organisations, with the opportunity to work towards a Leadership, Enterprise and Citizenship Award, which recognises their volunteering. A Work Based Learning programme based on volunteering experience could follow a similar pattern to other Work Based Learning programmes, where students take guidance from advisers on how to analyse and develop knowledge from their volunteering role, leading to a recognised Work Based Learning Award.

The Conference will include speakers from north London volunteering organisations such as All Saints Arts Centre, Barnet and Jesus House, talking about how they have incorporated Work Based Learning principles and processes into their organisations.
The Conference is open to current and prospective volunteers and to voluntary organisations in the north London area. It provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to explore what volunteering could offer them, and the new skills and career paths which volunteering can lead to.
The Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn, Brent Cross, on Monday 22 February. Attendance is free – to enrol, please contact Helen Villalobos

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