24.07.09

Volunteer Brokerage Scheme Struggling

A Government scheme which aims to match jobseekers with volunteering placements is reported to be struggling to reach its targets, despite the recession.  

The Volunteer Brokerage Scheme aims to match 34,000 jobseekers in England with volunteering placements by March 2011 but is reported to be meeting only half of its monthly targets. 

Under the scheme, unemployed people who have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for six months or more and who are interested in volunteering to develop and maintain their skills for work are referred to a specially assigned broker who will find them a work-focused volunteering placement in their local area. But it appears that only about a quarter of jobseekers referred to the brokers by Jobcentres actually finish their volunteering placements.

According to Tim Flood, the Chief Executive of BTCV (the charity that oversees the brokerage scheme), the reasons largely lie with the fact that the brokerage programme was rushed through, so there hadn’t been enough time to design it properly.  This meant that those involved with running it had faced difficulties.  Agreeing that performance around the country had been patchy, he explained that in some areas of high unemployment the voluntary sector did not always have enough capacity to create enough volunteering placements – whilst in others, jobseekers had decided not to do placements.

Critics of the scheme point out that there is no minimum time jobseekers must complete as volunteers in order to count towards the 34,000 target.

For more information on the scheme e-mail:
dwp-volunteering@btcv.org.uk

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