2.8 Current debates and reforms
On this page
On this page
A youth engagement strategy
The National Volunteering Strategy (2021-2025) sets out the long-term action to consult on a Youth Engagement Strategy. It lists the following bodies as responsible for this consultation:
- the Department of Education
- the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
- the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
Increased data on volunteering
The National Volunteering Strategy sets out that by 2026 there will be an “increase in the evidence base of the quantity and demographic breakdown of volunteers, contribution of volunteers and the value and benefits of volunteering individuals, groups and communities” (pg. 40). To achieve this, the Strategy includes the medium-term action of establishing a National Survey on Volunteering to provide baseline data on volunteers.
Issues affecting volunteers
Volunteer Ireland have highlighted several significant issues affecting the volunteering sector, including young volunteers. These include:
- the changing demands from volunteers;
- the lack of understanding that volunteering is not free;
- a concern that volunteering is taken for granted;
- whether or not there should be legal protection for volunteers enshrined in law;
- demographic changes; and
- lack of resourcing.
The National Volunteering Strategy 2021 – 2025 sets out the aim to 'Explore the potential for the introduction of a formal qualification in recognition of the skills, knowledge and competencies acquired from volunteering'.
I-VOL is the Irish national volunteering database, managed by Volunteer Ireland. It is a search engine that allows potential volunteers to search by location, cause and activity. The National Volunteering Strategy 2021 – 2025 also sets out the action to 'Further develop the IVOL database to include a ‘volunteering passport’ section that records the accredited skills and competencies of volunteers gained through volunteering role'.
Jobseekers and volunteering
There is an ongoing debate on jobseekers and volunteering. Jobseekers must complete an application form (VW 1 form) to engage in voluntary work. The completed application form is sent to the Local Intreo Centre (public employment service) or Branch Office and a Deciding Officer determines whether the person may take up the work in question without affecting entitlement to the jobseeker's payment. This application form can be perceived as a barrier to volunteering for jobseekers.
Students volunteering in Transition Year
There is a debate on the difficulties some young people may encounter to volunteer as part of the Transition Year programme in schools. Some young people, for example, young people from ethnic minorities, might find it difficult to secure volunteering opportunities.