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– CDG press release… signing up 50,000 expert volunteers

14 September 2010

Under strict embargo until 00:01 on 14 September 2010

Tackling unemployment by signing up 50,000 expert volunteers

Ensuring Britain continues to be a civilised and harmonious society means attracting 50,000 expert volunteers to sign up to the fight in supporting the unemployed back into work, according to the charity Careers Development Group’s (CDG) position paper1 launched today2.

The aim of CDG’s expert volunteer initiative is to attract those who, alongside having the capacity and desire to volunteer, have the skills to support and share with the long term unemployed. They would complement the work that welfare to work providers such as CDG and the government undertake.

Examples of expert volunteers include:

retired English teachers supporting those needing basic literacy support

directors and managers helping to build the self-confidence of those who have been unemployed for more than a year

former builders who having sold their businesses and want to help young people learn a trade.

An expert volunteer corps would support the need to increase the transfer of skills and knowledge between the generations if Britain is to avoid a society split between those with jobs or who have enjoyed good careers and those who are struggling to get, or get back, into employment. Effectively this is a transfer of skills and experience from retired or retiring baby boomers to generations X and Y.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, Careers Development Group’s chief executive, said:

“With a full commitment from government and employers, and taking advantage of Britain’s strong volunteering record, this initiative has the opportunity to harness all parts of civil society to change lives, communities and society for the better.

“Now, more than ever, is the right time for the welfare to work sector to encourage those with the skills, desire and time to climb aboard and volunteer their expertise. Those coming forward would be making a real difference to people who need their help.

“We are all responsible for the society in which we live and none of us should turn a blind eye to those who need our support to get, or get back, into work.”

The expert volunteer initiative will be led by third sector organisations and welfare to work providers who together would facilitate and structure the initiative.

Reach, the national skilled volunteering charity, is working with CDG in raising the profile of expert volunteering initiative.

Sarah King, chief executive of Reach, said:

“Volunteering, using their skills and personal life experiences, is a hidden opportunity for thousands of people – they just need avenues to channel the help they can give. The link between remaining mentally active in retirement and improved health and wellbeing is well evidenced.

“Helping the long term unemployed in this way would be a stimulating opportunity for many skilled individuals, whether retired or still building their own careers. It would give them the opportunity to change lives while balancing their own time and life demands.”

To tackle the problem of long term unemployment, a concerted effort from all parties – the government, voluntary and community organisations and the private sector – is needed. It means the public, private and third sectors have an opportunity to cement the Big Society philosophy together.

The CDG summit

CDG will be holding a summit on 14 October 2010 at Central Hall, Westminster, London, to discuss and debate with leading figures in the public, private and voluntary sectors how this initiative can work in practice and how it can contribute to the Big Society agenda.

Tapping into the potential of expert volunteers: A Vision for the future of welfare to work


Notes to Editors

1 The CDG position paper, Tapping into the potential of expert volunteers: A vision for the future of welfare to work, is available at

2 Formally launched at the GovNet partnership conference, Efficiency Through Service Delivery Partnerships 2010, takes place on Tuesday 14 September 2010 at the QEII Centre, London. Details can be found at

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CDG’s Chief Executive will be giving a speech on Cementing the Commercial, Community and Government Sectors to the Big Society: Added Value Resource Efficiency and Job Creation.

About Careers Development Group

CDG is a UK charity with nearly 30 years’ experience in helping those who are unemployed find and sustain employment. Many of the people CDG supports have multiple barriers to employment including a lack of recent work experience, disabilities, health problems and lack of relevant employability skills.

CDG helped over 33,000 people into jobs in 2009/10 and works across 29 centres in the UK (London, the South East, the Isle of Wight and the East Midlands).

Further information

Journalists requiring further information should contact Mark Brooks via:

(t) 020 7811 3164

(m) 07766 197727


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