Labour’s plans on careers advice should include opportunities with charities

9 April 2015

Labour’s plans to increase access to careers advice and work experience in schools need to include a focus on opportunities for young people to experience the work of charities and their vital contribution to society, says the Charities Aid Foundation today.

CAF's research shows young people are struggling to match the generosity of previous generations when it comes to supporting good causes, and engaging with them at a young age is vital if we are to secure the future of Britain’s charities.

During the previous Parliament CAF led the cross-party Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry, which investigated the ways that people of different ages support charities and concluded that more action needs to be taken to give young people opportunities to engage with charity, through work experience and careers advice.

It found that a third of young people aged 16-18 would like to work for a charity in the future, but there remains a lack of knowledge about how to get involved in the charity sector. Opportunities to experience work at a charity and learning about the careers that exist in the sector would open up new, rewarding career paths for future generations.

In addition, the skills gained from volunteering with charities and social action make a young person stand out when applying for jobs and to further and higher education.

Commenting on Labour’s plans, CAF’s Chief Executive John Low said:

"The future of our country depends on making sure the next generation has the right skills, tools and opportunities to get on. On this, I think we all agree. However, amongst the pre-election promises on academic attainment, careers advice and vocational training, we must not forget that we also need young people to grow up able to play their part as active citizens in their communities, to be encouraged to help others at the same time as helping themselves. 

"We know that there is huge enthusiasm amongst young people to get involved in volunteering and social action.  We also know that this activity can offer some of the best opportunities to develop valuable skills and qualities. We must not deny our young people these opportunities. We need an education system, careers advice and employers who all value and encourage charitable endeavour alongside more traditional academic or vocational achievements."    


Notes for editors:

1) The cross-party Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry was a cross-party programme chaired by David Blunkett, supported by Andrew Percy and Baroness Tyler. One of the Inquiry’s recommendations was:

“Schools and charities should work together to ensure that children and young people have opportunities to be involved in the work of charities, and that their participation is recognised and promoted as an integral part of careers advice, citizenship and personal development.”

2) CAF’s Growing Up Giving investigated the attitudes young people hold towards charity in schools. 61% of young people said arranging charity work would encourage them to help charities, and over a quarter (27%) of young people want more about charity to be taught in schools.

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