18 to 30 Year Olds Volunteer – ProjectScotland

Posted on August 23, 2013

Article from the Caledonian Mercury, August 22nd 2013.

Ramiz Hassan is typical of thousands of young Scots: bright, personable, full of energy and hard working, but not sure what to do with their life.

“I had a series of jobs from leaving school”, explains the 26 year-old. “I worked as a labourer, in factories, but had no clear ambition.”

Until now that is. “I am going to be a professional youth worker,” he says, with determination.

What changed Ramiz’s life was a ProjectScotland volunteering opportunity with the Youth Community Support Agency in Glasgow.

ProjectScotland is the national youth volunteering organisation in Scotland. Working with hundreds of charity partners across the country, it helps young Scots aged 18 to 30 to get on life by volunteering full-time.

Young Scots like Ramiz get the chance to make a positive contribution to their community, and their country, through volunteering.

It is a “win, win, win business model,” says ProjectScotland’s Head of Marketing, Kevin Lelland.

He believes that the organisation has an essential role to play in Scottish life.

“ProjectScotland volunteers get a valuable experience of work, and a chance of supported personal development at a crucial juncture in their life and career.”

“Charities, big and small, get additional skills, talents and energy. This in turn helps strengthen local communities and connections across generations are forged.

“I truly believe that ProjectScotland makes our country a better place.”

Violet Dalton, Head of Volunteering at the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), is a passionate advocate for ProjectScotland and volunteering.

She says: “I am a great supporter of the kind of full-time, structured volunteering which ProjectScotland delivers.

“Volunteering changes people in many ways, and can often lead to a job, or a change of direction.

“Having a ProjectScotland and NTS volunteering role is a fantastic addition to any young person’s CV.”

ProjectScotland places 1000 volunteers a year and works with more than 300 Scottish charities.

Crucially, at a time when many young Scots are finding it harder to get a foot on the career ladder, ProjectScotland has been proven to work with 7 out of 10 volunteers moving onto work, education or training.

According to the DWP, 50% of young people taking part in an experience of work, such as a ProjectScotland opportunity, come off benefits with 3 months.

Each ProjectScotland volunteer also gets a mentor. A volunteer themselves, mentors sign-up and give time to one of the youth volunteers, supporting them to think about and focus on the future.

According to Ramiz the formula works. “As a ProjectScotland volunteer, I got experience of a range of youth activities, including counselling, employment advice and a residential course.

“Before I did this I had never considered youth work, but my experience opened up all sorts of opportunities for me. And I have made new friends as well.”

He goes on: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ProjectScotland. It offers a wide range of opportunities you won’t get anywhere else, you get hands on experience, and importantly for me, it opened me up to new ideas.”

“ProjectScotland has changed my life.”

For more information, or to apply to volunteer or mentor, visit projectscotland.co.uk