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Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations
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Volunteering

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‘A national milestone about volunteering must be developed’

Our response to Welsh Government’s consultation, Measuring a Nation’s Progress.

Welsh Government recently consulted on which of the 42 national indicators should have milestones developed against them to assist Ministers in assessing Wales’ progress against the seven wellbeing goals.

The indicator ‘percentage of people who volunteer’ is not currently set to have a milestone developed. In our response, we have said that it should. It fits Welsh Government’s criteria around milestone development, which are:

  • Achieving this milestone will have a generational effect by preventing poor outcomes that would have a knock-on effect for future generations
  • Capable of being influenced significantly by our devolved government
  • Achieving this milestone will unlock progress in a range of areas
  • Will require action by a number of partners

We have also expressed concern that not developing a milestone around volunteering may, consciously or unconsciously, lead Welsh Government and other decision-makers to deprioritise the third sector when it comes to investment.

We have also suggested that the indicator around percentage of people in employment should be tweaked to ‘percentage of people in employment and paid at the Real Living Wage’.

Read the full response for more detail.

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Turning experience into employment

One of the many benefits of volunteering is that it is great activity through which to learn and develop personal and professional skills, such as confidence, the ability to work as a team, or how to deal with challenging situations. Such skills, and the valuable experience that volunteering brings, can be helpful in gaining employment, for the first time, or in changing careers or in preparing for college or university.

We know that many people choose volunteering to purposefully assist them on their path to employment or education, particularly young people, who may get involved in volunteering to help them learn about the world of work or find out more about a career path.

However, the act of volunteering is one thing, turning this into employment related experience or a personal statement for a UCAS form is another.

To help volunteers of all ages to do this, we worked with WCIA to develop a simple presentation and infographic that could be used to help volunteers understand what they have gained from volunteering and turn it into language that could be used on a CV, in a personal statement or in an interview.

This resource is now available here as an infographic and presentation.

The resource can be used by volunteers themselves or used as a tool by someone that supports volunteers in most settings.

WCVA welcomes feedback on their tools and resources, so please get in touch to let us know if this works for you or your volunteers or if you think improvements could be made.

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Employers Encouraging Volunteering

Just because you have a full time job it doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to volunteer. You can volunteer in the evenings, on weekends or even give a week during your annual leave. But there are some companies that are encouraged to give their staff extra time off specifically to volunteer. Network Rail is one of the biggest companies that do this, and we wanted to know why.



Network Rail owns, operates and develops Britain’s railway infrastructure. Wales and Borders is one of eight areas of the rail network in Britain, with nearly 1,700 staff based in the area, and a headquarters in Cardiff.

They actively encourage their staff to volunteer, facilitated by BITC (Business in the Community Cymru). BITC works with businesses of all sizes and wants every business in Wales to behave responsibly and make a real difference to the people, economy and environment of Wales. We talked to Tracy Dickinson, head of human resources for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, to find out more.

Why encourage your staff to volunteer?
Volunteering is a powerful way to invest in local communities while supporting our employees’ personal development. It’s also a great way for people to acquire new skills and experience, and develop invaluable life skills.

We provide every employee with five days volunteer leave per year.

Are you keen that younger members of the staff get the chance to volunteer?
Yes we are. It’s an opportunity to get to know their local community and learn some new skills.

Olivia and Steffan
Network Rail staff Olivia Jones and Steffan Jones recently volunteered on a decorating project at the SHARE centre in Newport, which helps vulnerable and disadvantaged local communities.

‘We redecorated 3 rooms in the centre which really helped to freshen up the space that is used on a daily basis, and gave the community a nice environment to learn and also work in,’ explains Olivia.

‘The centre explained that they don’t receive a lot of funding for redecorating the rooms, and therefore really appreciated our input and hard work. We also raised enough money to buy stationary supplies for the centre, and had 2 large whiteboards donated from one of the Network Rail depots, which will help with the educational classes that take place.’

Steffan helped with planning the decorating project, going on scoping visits, completing risk assessments and calculating the materials needed. He is keen to volunteer again and will soon be taking part in a beach clean day.

Does volunteering make someone more employable?
We wanted to know if Olivia and Steffan thought that volunteering was something that would make an impression on future employers.

Olivia believes that it’s a big advantage.
‘I think volunteering definitely helps make you more employable as you learn valuable team building skills. We only had one day to complete the decorating so it was important to work together and communicate in order to get it completed in time,’ she says.

‘I also think that volunteering gives you an appreciation for the different types of work environments that exist, and allows you to see the variety of different workplaces that are available to you,’ adds Olivia.

And Steffan agrees.
‘It shows a drive to do something worthwhile, develop skills like teamwork, planning, communication, leadership etc. and shows that you are a rounded individual.

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