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Centre Points: Compulsory Voluntary work?


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It may sound like an oxymoron but compulsory voluntary work for young people is now fashionable and in one sense it is already happening. Viv Regan puts the case against it to a group of young people, some of whom we learn are not there ‘by choice,’ at WORLDbytes Citizen TV centre in East London. It’s bad for voluntary organisations, she argues, sucking up resources and bad for young people, treating them as incapable and only concerned with themselves. This she suggests is about adult’s failure to inspire and an authoritarian obsession with controlling young people’s behaviour.

Related topics: Debates

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Israel Mazuera Arana said:

I think it is important to mention that voluntary should be optional to everybody if it gets mandatory it won’t be a matter of willing and learning. For own experience, I would say that when you do compulsory volunteer service you don’t comprehend the real idea of volunteering.What I really think it’s that it should be ways for people to do volunteering work wherever and whenever they want. promote volunteering it is the best way to get young people willing to do it. In my Country, young people has to do 240 hours of volunteering/ community service.

Michael said:

A few people said something in this video that I think holds very true: volunteer work that is compulsory is by definition not volunteering since it is obligatory. That is not what the word “volunteer” means. That being said, at my university in America there are programs through the Uni that will give students a roughly £2500 stipend to work for a non-profit organization over the summer break. This is because the school fears that students will not want to work for these good causes without more of an incentive, namely a monetary incentive. Students tend to be in need of money, so this stipend makes working for a non-profit more attractive, as most of these organizations do not offer pay checks. What many of the people in the video are implying is that a program like this from my Uni would take away the essence of what volunteer work should be about.

Chris Freed said:

Nicely put Viv and good discussion. Thanks.

Emma said:

I really enjoyed this video– I agree that there should be no compulsory volunteering, and think that volunteering and work experience should be completely set apart– it is important to do things for their own good, and not just to an end of your own. Work experience is necessary, and has the potential to inspire and interest people in different areas of the world, but in my personal experience with volunteering if there was not already a strong interest there, I would be doing more harm than good by going along. It’s strange how the narrative of CV etc. gets pushed with regard to volunteering when the obvious and only reason is to help try and give your time to change something for the better. Young people should not be worried about getting a job over doing something that is actually worthwhile!

Madhu said:

I think anyone interested in volunteering will find a way to do it. If a person is not interested in something and you force them to do it, the results will be disastrous,and especially for the charity which is trying to do some good .

N. N. Dee said:

The word “volunteer” originates from the Latin word “voluntarius”, which means “to offer oneself”, or “of one’s own free will.” How can one do something of “free will” if there is a mandate to do it?

Alessia said:

There should not being any doubt around what the nature of volunteering is. Volunteering is all about supporting a cause and give energy, time and help in order to see something happening. Without any kind of renumeration and obligation. Well done If any skill is acquired throughout the volunteering experience, but that’s not the reason why one should start volunteering. The world is full of unpaid internships giving the “opportunity” to gain skills before starting a career, – or should I say exploitation programmes disguised as internships? – choose an internship if your only interest is to make your cv better.
Volunteering work should be just promoted more in order for every single person – young as adult as elder – to be aware that it can be – and not must be – part of life.