Volunteering is the state’s largest workforce and young people are already volunteering in Queensland at higher rates than other age groups.
Volunteering is an important part of informal learning for young people, helping them develop skills and experiences to help them secure jobs later in life. It also has great social, emotional and economic advantages to the individual and the community. This is particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and young people living in regional areas.
Youth volunteering can be supported through policy, through establishing age-appropriate roles and inclusive recruitment practices, along with help to translate their experiences to support future paid work opportunities.
Volunteers provided 133.4 million hours of work to the Queensland economy in 2014 and is estimated to be worth $11.6 billion at a conservative estimation. This is vital to the economic progression of the state and our young people are the driving factor.
In 2018, the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) undertook the Growing up in Queensland project, which engaged over 7,000 young Queenslanders aged between 4 and 18 years, to hear their thoughts, views and opinions about their community, hopes and dreams and their most important issues. The findings were released in This place I call home: the views of children and young people on growing up in Queensland.
Children and young people told us volunteering is a good way to gain useful skills to improve future employability and to give back to the community. However, they also said they were often prevented from volunteering because of their age. One secondary student in south-east Queensland reported,
“Even volunteering is difficult to get into if you are trying to get experience. We wanted to help out at the Children’s Hospital and we found out you have to be aged 18 to volunteer.”
To address these concerns, the QFCC worked with Volunteering Queensland to speak to volunteer-involving organisations across Queensland about ways to increase and support youth volunteering. The findings are in our Young people volunteering: Removing the barriers – Growing up in Queensland issues paper.