Volunteering, undoubtedly, makes an invaluable contribution to society. It is an important driver of inclusive growth, which contributes to both social and human capital, and fosters intergenerational solidarity, while also offering significant economic value. Through volunteering, skills acquisition and improvement of the employability of a volunteer can be achieved and that’s why its importance has long been acknowledged by the European Union (EU).
For this reason, “Institute of Entrepreneurship Development” along with 6 organizations from different countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom) joined their forces under the framework of the Erasmus+ “Youth voluntEering Certification” (YECh) project, to foster the inclusion, active youth participation and enhance employability of young people by the establishment of a certificate of volunteer work. In this frame, this project revolves around the implementation of European Credit system for Vocational Education & Training (ECVET) for the validation of knowledge, skills, and competencies of young volunteers and youth workers.
In the frame of YECh’s first Intellectual Output, a Competency Matrix was developed. Each one of the skills listed in the Competency Matrix represents one unit. Each unit has its learning outcomes. The learning outcomes according to ECVET are “Knowledge”, “Skills” and “Competences”. The profiles developed were adapted to the population in each of the participating countries and the conditions of each of these countries. The 7 organizations involved, submitted a questionnaire to 157 people, mostly aged between 18 and 30, to learn about their point of view on voluntary work and the training needs they encountered. Moreover, the Outline of a Qualified Volunteer Worker was developed which aims towards the certification of the results of learning as they result from different educational paths of initial professional training, continuing professional training and professional training in the context of lifelong learning.
In this frame, the Institute of Entrepreneurship Development conducted in-depth research in the legal framework defining volunteering and the third sector of the economy in Greece, the volunteer’s profile as well as the development of the third sector in Greece. Another part of the research was focused on national and international bibliography. The aim of this part of the research was to find the knowledge gaps that exist in the third sector, as well as the competences that volunteers need in order to be successful. IED had prepared questionnaires in order to define the competencies that Greek volunteers, social and youth workers think they are important, in order to be successful in the third sector.
General findings showed that there is a rather homogeneous view of generic skills and the sense of volunteering. Respondents consider it important to work in such organizations as they believe that they contribute a lot to society. The five questions to which the interviewees gave the most important were those related to the importance of developing skills and knowledge, of being coherent with ethical standards, of developing communication skills (both internal and external communication), of working in teams and have a positive attitude during volunteer work. As visible, these are mostly soft skills and probably emphasize the importance of living voluntary organizations first and foremost as a place for aggregation and human development.
However, they view critical thinking, computer skills, language skills, design skills, marketing skills, and communication skills as far less important. That probably derives from the fact that most young people do not have managerial responsibilities within voluntary organizations, and in this way, they do not perceive the need.
To read thoroughly about the Competency Matrix click here.
To read thoroughly about the Profile of the European Volunteer and see the statistic graphs click here.