Volunteering - validating skills for use in job-hunting
Ireland is home to one of the largest volunteer led sporting organisations in the world and has strong volunteer links. With this investment in our society and our community comes experience and skills and the proposed "European Skills Passport" relating to skills acquired through volunteering will improve the mobility of volunteers and create a vital link between non-formal learning, formal learning and employment."
The skills and knowledge gained by volunteers should also help them find jobs or be recognised as part of their training, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Tuesday in Strasbourg. They support the creation of a "skills passport" to validate this experience and call for more funding for voluntary activities.
Volunteering is an important and intrinsic part of Irish society. Ireland is home to one of the largest volunteer led sporting organisations in the world and has strong volunteer links with organisations such as the Special Olympics. The European Parliament voted today (Tuesday 12 June)to ensure that volunteer organisations are not hampered by excessive red tape in accessing resources and to increase the mobility of volunteers though a "European Skills Passport."
Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and a Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture, Education and Sport worked directly on the Report and has welcomed its ambitious scope.
According to the Ireland East MEP volunteers have a wide skill set that should be formally recognised:
"Over 100 mullion people volunteer regularly across Europe and people of all ages are participating in volunteering in the fields of education, culture, youth policies, sport, the environment, sustainable development, health and rights advocacy. With this investment in our society and our community comes experience and skills and the proposed "European Skills Passport" relating to skills acquired through volunteering will improve the mobility of volunteers and create a vital link between non-formal learning, formal learning and employment."
Volunteering helps social integration
Official recognition of the skills gained in voluntary work will give added value to a CV and should help make young people more employable, aiding them in their career choices, say MEPs. A European Skills Passport could become an essential tool for both professional and learning purposes.
Volunteering activities in sports clubs, cultural associations, charities and other organisations help strengthen solidarity and social inclusion. People with disabilities or immigrants who take part in them could also benefit from adequate educational and financial support.
Stable funding for volunteering organisations
Parliament urges national, regional and local authorities to ensure stable funding and provide tax incentives for organisations involved in volunteering activities. It wants priority to go small organisations with limited budgets and to cross-border volunteering activities and it calls for easier access to European programmes and funding.
MEPs recommend setting up a centralised EU portal to help volunteering organisations spread information, improve cooperation and exchange best practice.
The resolution was adopted by 603 to 23, with 63 abstentions