London mayor launches youth volunteering schemes

By Laura McCardle

| 03 June 2014

The mayor of London Boris Johnson is encouraging young people living in the capital to volunteer in a bid to improve their employment prospects.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants young people to become more involved with volunteering. Picture: Andrew Parsons

Johnson has launched two new volunteering schemes aimed at 16- to 18-year-olds in an attempt to enhance their CVs and equip them with the skills required for employment.

The first initiative – HeadStart London – will encourage young people in full-time education to commit to 16 hours of volunteering in their local area.

The scheme, delivered by Team London, the mayor’s volunteering scheme, in partnership with youth charity The Challenge, is designed to help participants develop key skills such as communication, teamwork and self-discipline.

In addition, HeadStart London will provide employability workshops and offer access to interview preparation and communications coaching.

The second initiative, delivered by Team London in partnership with youth charities City Gateway and Inspire, will give unemployed 16- to 18-year-olds the opportunity to volunteer at sporting and cultural events across London.

The aim of the project is to provide training for young people who may not have prior experience of working with the public.

Launching the scheme, Johnson said: “We want to clear the path between education and work and raise awareness amongst employers that in gaining volunteering experience, young people are also acquainting themselves with the very skills that will set them up to succeed in the workplace.

“I urge businesses across the capital to get behind these young people and give them a chance to put what they’ve learned to real and effective use.”

Veronica Wadley, senior adviser for Team London, added: “Our ambition is to carry on the spirit of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and build momentum for volunteering across the capital.

“We’ve developed these programmes for young Londoners to get ahead while giving back.”

Charlotte Hill, chief executive of social action campaign Step up to Serve, is pleased Johnson has recognised the value of volunteering.

She said: “It is fantastic that the mayor of London is recognising the fact that employers really want the skills that young people get from volunteering.

“We need to see more employers recognising this on CVs and that’s part of what our business pioneering group is working on at Step up to Serve.”

Data published by the Department for Education last week, shows that the number of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training in London is falling at a faster rate than the rest of the country.

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