The 7 partners of the project VOYCE, funded by the European program Erasmus, began to work on a first meeting in Rome last February 2017 at the headquarters of CESV, coordinator of the consortium. This project, which lasts 2 years, aims to improve the non-formal learning outcomes of young people doing voluntary work in Europe, encouraging their employability. Many young people in Europe volunteer once, and such experiences can be an important learning opportunity for them. Volunteering is an activity that can offer a significant boost in the individual growth of people as well as provide a bridge to enter the job market.
In addition, skills acquired in a non-formal and informal way should be recognized by all educational agencies, and the question of how to make this learning useful for access to the labor market is one of the top priorities of the EU Agenda. VOYCE’s actions will enable young people to improve their career prospects through a capitalization and skills acquired through volunteer experiences.
Practical tools will be created for the identification and certification of competencies, which can be used by volunteers of the organizations that host them. It appears that approximately 100 million EU citizens – more than one-fifth of the population – regularly participate in voluntary activities, from which they seem to benefit. The highest level of participation is observed in northern Europe, where more than 40% with a minimum of 18 years of age are volunteers. The level in Eastern Europe is notably lower, where participation is 15%.
Regarding the relationship between young people and volunteering, recent research offers a complex picture. Youth volunteers are large (21.6% of Europeans between 18 and 34 years), however the frequency of such activities and the number of hours dedicated to them increases with time. While referring to the motivations of young people, together with the desire to feel useful, there is a willingness to acquire new skills that are likely to be beneficial in their future job prospects.
The experiences of the project will be carried out by an association of 7 organizations, which cover 5 member countries of the European Union.
- CESV Centro de Servizi per il Volontariato: Volunteer Service Center, Project Coordinator (Italy)
- CPIA 3 of Rome: a public school for adult continuing education (Italy)
- CEMEA Center: An organization with long experience in non-formal and informal education of young people through creative activities (France)
- Docete Omnes Foundation: Vocational training school for disadvantaged people (Spain)
- Fundación Cibervoluntarios: Organization that promotes the social use of technology through a network of more than 1,500 cibervoluntarios (Spain)
- Era Ewaluacji: Educational and research center (Poland)
- IPR Institute: Organization that implements services and training for at-risk and disadvantaged youth (Portugal)