I was invited by our friends at Accordia (who kindly supported our Working with Ex-Offenders Conference), to speak at one the the final networking events of their very successful Employability Professionals Capacity Building Project. This took place on Friday 20th March and my presentation was about Volunteering in the Present Climate.
Unfortunately, this had nothing to do with the recent spell of warm weather, nor could I pull in global warming, but concentrated instead on the challenges that people who are supporting unemployed people to find work face in the present economic situation.
I started with this week’s news that unemployment had topped 2 million and looked at the figures for the East Midlands and for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. (I was speaking at the event in Nottingham, so felt that my new loyalty to Derbyshire could be put on hold for the day).
I also outlined the challenges faced by volunteer involving organisations, by support organisations such as Volunteer Centres and by the employability professionals themselves. I identified that we had an opportunity to work together to integrate volunteering into the way that unemployed people can develop skills, confidence and that we have a great track record in supporting people on the path towards employability, if not to employment itself.
I also made a strong case that the voluntary sector should not be seen as as panacea by employability professionals who cannot find anything else for some of their harder to help clients.
Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire