2.4 Youth volunteering at national level
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The national programme was launched in 2015 and it is called Youth Voluntary Work Scheme. The scheme is managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector. The national programme intends to achieve two main goals. The first goal is to help young people improve their skills and employment prospects by giving them an opportunity to take up volunteering as part of their non-formal and informal learning process. The programme also enables them to discover the value of voluntary service and helps to foster a sense of community and active citizenship. The second goal of the scheme is to support Voluntary Organisations in attracting young people to volunteering, enabling them to enhance their capacity with new volunteers and fresh ideas.
In 2016 the Scheme started supporting voluntary experiences abroad for young people through locally registered voluntary organisations to carry out an international volunteer service in Europe, Africa, Asia or South America.
The Youth Voluntary Work Scheme is open for young volunteers between the ages of 16-30 who would want to do volunteer work in Malta and from 18-30 years old for young volunteers who would like to do volunteering abroad.
Interested young volunteers submit an online application indicating the period of volunteering (up to 12 months) and the number of hours of work per week (8 hrs, 15 hrs, or 30 hrs) they would like to commit themselves to and the Voluntary Organisation where they would like to volunteer.
Upon receiving the application, the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector will contact the indicated Voluntary Organisation to see if they are willing to host voluntary workers under the scheme. There is a maximum of 4 volunteers per organisation. Should the indicated voluntary organisation accept the offer, they are given the details of the young volunteer to set up an interview. If accepted, the young person signs a contract and starts receiving a monthly stipend.
The scheme pays a stipend of Eur 2 per hour up to a maximum of Eur 60 per week.
The specific objectives pursued by the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme are to:
- Promote the participation in the community as an active citizen;
- Improve the level of key competences and skills of young people, including those with fewer opportunities;
- Foster quality improvements in youth voluntary work;
- Promote an intercultural dimension with a non-formal approach.
The policy priorities pursued through the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme are:
- Promoting active citizenship to young people by fostering social inclusion and the active participation of young people in society;
- Promoting young people's social inclusion and well-being, mainly through the empowerment of young people, to combat youth unemployment;
- Raising awareness about voluntary work;
- Developing basic skills, such as entrepreneurship, working in a team and leadership skills;
- Increase the skills of young people through the practical experience of volunteering abroad;
- Encourage the learning of another language;
- Develop the ability to interact with persons of different language and culture;
- Spread tolerance among young people.
In 2015, 71 young people participated in the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme. In 2016 50 young people volunteered in Maltese organisations while 16 went to do their volunteering abroad.
This scheme is also valid for academic accreditation, Youthpass and Europass.
The funding for the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme comes from a specific central national fund. Currently, the budget is EUR 100,000 per year.
Apart from the data on the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme, the are no official statistics that specifically target the level of participation of young people in volunteering. The only data available comes from National Statistics Office which publishes a yearly International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development survey. Within such data, the National Statistics Office publishes the level of participation for the 12-24-year-old cohort. Since 2012 the average number of participants between 12-24 years was that of 4,000 which make up an average of about 13% of the whole cohort of volunteers in Malta.
Young people participating in the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme chose very different areas for their volunteering. The most popular organisations however are those that deal with animal welfare, emergency and rescue and scouting.
Youth Volunteers participation in the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme are given the opportunity to contribute to the daily work of voluntary organisations according to the particular nature of the same organisation. Youth Volunteers will be allocated a monthly stipend by the Scheme which will be paid to them directly by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector. In the case of the volunteer experience taking place overseas, the Scheme shall also cover 75% of the travel and accommodation.
The financial assistance for the stipend under this Scheme will last for not more than twelve months from the date of engagement of the eligible person/s with the accredited Voluntary Organisation. The Youth Volunteers will be required to work with the organisation for either 8, 15, or 30 hours weekly placements. The financial assistance given in the form of stipends is fixed at an hourly rate of €2.00 to cover travel expenses and food. (Example: €30.00 per week for Youth Volunteers undertaking a 15 hr week placement).
In the case of the volunteer experience taking place overseas, the Scheme shall also cover the following:
- A per diem allowance as per established list for each country, which shall cover accommodation, food, and local transportation;
- 75% Travel expenses (flight);
- Travel and health insurance.
Youth volunteers under the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme are covered by health insurance. Those participating in the Overseas part of the scheme are also covered by travel insurance.
The Youth Voluntary Work Scheme does not specify any particular target group to be recruited as a volunteer. In this regard, any young person between the ages of 16 - 30 can apply for volunteering in Malta and any young person between the ages of 18 - 30 can apply for volunteering abroad.
However, the Youth Voluntary Work Scheme states that if the placement targets young volunteers with fewer opportunities, facilities, and capacity in providing tailor-made preparation, support, and follow-up have to be in place prior to the placement.