How effective is youth volunteering as an employment strategy? A mixed methods study from the UK

Bryony Hoskins, Pauline Leonard, Rachel Wilde

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Volunteering has recurrently been advocated in UK policy as a key mechanism for young people to gain paid employment, but with little in the way of evidence to support the strategy. Indeed, although research in this area is limited, that which does exist suggests that the link between volunteering and paid work is weak. Further, it is young people from higher social backgrounds who are more likely to access good quality unpaid work experience. This article draws on mixed methods research using the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Survey data to contribute to analyses of the relationship between volunteering and employment for young people. It finds a multifaceted picture but, in the short term, there is little to evidence to support policy assumptions that the two are positively related, regardless of social class and type of volunteering performed. A more informed policy approach to the complexities of young people’s employability is needed.

© 2020, The Author(s). This is an author produced version of a paper published in SOCIOLOGY uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020


  • Employment, mixed methods, transitions, unpaid work, volunteer, youth.

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