Lifelong Learning Platform | LLLP - European Civil Society for Education

Survey on the Recognition of Volunteers’ competences by Employers

In the framework of the GR-EAT project (AEGEE), the LLL-P led a survey approaching employers on how they value volunteering in recruitment. Led from February to April 2015, it gathered 131 responses destined to evaluate the recognition of non-formal and informal learning prior, for and during employment. Three mismatches were revealed: first, between the value employers give to volunteering and their capacity to assess it; second, between assessment tools and employer’s knowledge of their existence, as well as correspondence to their needs; third, between the competences gained by volunteers and their capacity to highlight them to employers.

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The learning outcomes of volunteering are seldom recognised by employers whereas they could greatly increase (young) persons’ chances in the labour market. In this context, the LLLPlatform carried out research among employers in all types of sectors (public, private and non-for-profit) to find out about their needs and expectations regarding the recognition of non-formal and informal learning.

To better understand their expectations, data was gathered through desk research, interviews and meetings. A survey was also published to put light on employers’ perceptions of volunteering and on the tools/ways to better recognise the non-formal and informal learning taking place during this experience.Indeed, in order to develop tools to support a better recognition of non-formal and informal learning, it is crucial to understand the expectations and needs of employers taking into account different sectors.

The survey on recognition of competences gained in volunteering revealed that employers usually value the fact that an applicant was active as a volunteer in the final decision to hire a job applicant. This optimistic result is supported by the fact that half of the respondents are flexible in allowing employees to take an active role as volunteers by providing flexible hours and authorise absence leave. What is more, the survey shows that the existing tools to support the validation process are mainly unknown. It is crucial to broaden the understanding of these tools for employers and raise awareness of the benefits of volunteering for their businesses or organisations. Regarding volunteers, it is crucial to help them increase their employability skills and understanding about employers’ expectations.