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Finding work through volunteering

VOLUNTEERING is one way in which the unemployed can find a job. Experts from various countries of the European Union confirmed this at an international conference in Banská Bystrica on September 10.

VOLUNTEERING is one way in which the unemployed can find a job. Experts from various countries of the European Union confirmed this at an international conference in Banská Bystrica on September 10.

The conference closed the two-year project Volunteering – Way to Employment (Volwem) which 96 jobless people in Slovakia joined. Of these, 33 have jobs today. The project proved that volunteering is a way to achieve new skills and competencies that are recognised by employers in Slovakia, the TASR newswire reported.

The Volwem project started in Slovakia in October 2012, and was joined by four volunteer centres in cities with the highest jobless rates – Banská Bystrica, Košice, Prešov and Nitra.

Alžbeta Mračková from the Platform of Volunteer Centres and Organisations explained at the conference that they approached through job offices 150 jobseekers (regardless of age) 96 of whom joined the project. They volunteered in cultural institutions like libraries and museums, and also in environmental and social organisations.

“They conducted activities of various kinds, like administrative and organisational work, [and] they worked with children, seniors and handicapped people,” said Mračková. Often these were activities in which they had no previous experience.

Volunteers who joined the project will receive certificates from Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica noting their D-skills, which is one of the biggest achievements of the project and also a new development in Slovakia. The system of recognising skills gained via volunteering under the name D-skills for employment should signal to potential employers a quality employee.

According to head hunter Dalibor Slávik, when conducting a volunteering activity, [the volunteer] not only attains skills, experiences and competences, but he or she also develops those which he or she already has.

“Volunteering differentiates a potential employee from others,” he said.

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