This report concerns the renewed interest in volunteering as a way of improving job prospects.
There was considerable interest during the 1980s in the part voluntary work might play in the lives of unemployed people, but attention diminished as unemployment fell and special employment schemes involving the voluntary sector were curtailed. With the arrival of Welfare to Work and the prominent place the voluntary sector now occupies in the New Deal arrangements, volunteering has moved up the political agenda.
The past decade and a half has been a relatively fallow period with regard to research into the links between voluntary work and unemployment. However, studies concerned with volunteering more generally, where the subject of volunteering by unemployed people has been incidental, have found that their participation has been consistently lower than for the general population.