Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment

As a former recruiter, I’ve seen a lot of resumes.  The one thing that doesn’t look so great is a gap between jobs.  The longer the gap, the louder the alarm bells.

Where do your thoughts go when you hear the word “volunteer”?

Do you think of getting out, meeting new people, and getting involved in the community?  Do you think of the coaches and managers at your sporting club?  Charity retail stores, firefighters, surf lifesavers, or those who travel to developing countries to work in childcare, conservation, or medicine.

Volunteers are everywhere!

People volunteer for a variety of reasons and they all have skills and/or qualifications (whether they know it or not!); first aid, financial, planning, organising or people skills for example.  What we tend to overlook is how we might use volunteering to gain new skills, enhance existing ones, or transfer skills to a new career.

In its research into the Future Skills Framework 2030 The Foundation for Young Australians found that our aging population was leaving the workforce quicker than younger people could replace them.  Yet our current and future workers are finding the transition from full-time study to full-time work challenging and feeling that they lack the right skills.  

In 2019 there were 31,000 young people aged 15-24 in the NT.  Nearly 10,000 of them will need enterprise skills including communication, digital literacy and critical thinking to meet the business needs of the future.  Check out these NT Electorate specific fact sheets for further detail:

FYA Fact Sheet Solomon
FYA Fact Sheet Lingiari

We acknowledge that upskilling and reskilling is critical but what does this have to do with volunteers you ask?

Can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job.

If you’re transitioning into the workforce volunteering in a growth industry may put you ahead of other job seekers.  Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle, out of work or looking for a change?  Perhaps you have retirement in your sights.  Your years of expertise be shared in a voluntary capacity to support the next generation of workers.

There are so many opportunities out there for people at all stages of their career to get involved, keep busy or try something new.  Not to mention how good it looks on the resume!  

Wherever you are on the career curve, Volunteering NT may be the organisation to help.  They will work with you to match your existing skills and experience with organisations who need them.  They can also support organisations who rely on a volunteer workforce to access a range of resources.

Information about volunteering in the NT is available at Volunteering NT, and don’t forget to check out the NT Volunteer of the Year Awards page and nominate that amazing person (or people) who deserve special recognition.

To report hard to fill jobs or new skills needed for jobs in the NT, please contact ISACNT.