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Thursday 4 September 2014

How does volunteering can improve employability?

 Steven Jackson, Principal Lecturer on Solent’s tourism courses volunteers with his students during a field trip to the Gambia. Here he explains how a volunteering holiday could help you stand out during employment. 

I’m just setting off on a volunteering holiday with the National TrustVolunteer tourism is a developing niche market with holidays available at home and abroad. But they do vary in price tremendously, from just over a hundred pounds in some cases, to thousands in others!

Employers see them as something that differentiates one student from another; it’s something positive to put on your CV. But why do employers look favourably on volunteering holidays? Well, they show commitment and interest outside the narrow confines of a degree and they also enable you to develop a range of ‘soft’ skills such as dealing with people, group working and possibly even taking some responsibility.

Many of these ‘working holidays’ are physical in nature and give people the opportunity for more active involvement in a project rather than just using technology, as they may do every day of their lives.

Volunteer tourism has also produced some great dissertations in recent years and the contacts that students have made through their projects have led directly to jobs in this sector – and getting that first job is vitally important. The work I have carried out with a variety of organisations such as the National Trust is used directly in teaching and assessment and shows the relevance of maintaining contacts with the sectors in which we teach.