Since the beginning of the recession massive jobs cuts took place in every sector and the economy gradually sank into deep trouble.

People turned towards self employment, volunteering, work placements and internships as potential constructive alternatives.

Now with the Brexit uncertainty is back looming in the air and people fear the worst before things may eventually get better.

Recession Recovery signpost

As everybody knows by now, both work placements and internships have been notoriously in the media for the wrong reasons.

Many have voiced openly for both to be scrapped completely as they only seem accessible for the wealthy offspring of well connected families.

In addition, many companies sign up for work placement programmes only so they can get the government’s grants. Unfortunately a significant proportion of BME and migrant population are systematically exploited, abused and rejected under such programmes… as many union bodies have already exposed the dark scenario openly.

With volunteering, a risk has been taken to drive it to almost form a substitute for the State social responsibilities (remember the big society concept?), instead of providing a simple complement to its primary role.

Diverse Hands Holding The Word Volunteer

The idea alone of relying on volunteers to take over the State’s responsibilities in terms of providing vital services to society’s vulnerable members just to cut back on expenses is like threading on dangerous ground.

People volunteer out of the goodness of their hearts for a certain period of time but they simply cannot volunteer forever! They have their own personal lives and other obligations too.

Anyway, since the beginning of the recession as the jobs became scarce, more and more people fell into desperate situations and start to regard volunteering as a way to step into paid employment again.

Unfortunately many were simply taken for granted, pressured, deceived, exploited and abused, so much so they would not recommend it to anybody they know. I have learned of several horror stories about people volunteering for more than a year and still not being offered a role in the organization!?

Large foot about to tramp a row of people

Ultimately this is exactly where volunteering goes wrong as it abuses the good will of people who just end up being regarded as basically quick, disposable, cheap labour.

Volunteering does not have to be like this! Done correctly it contributes towards enhancing one’s life and society as well.

There is a valid need to re-habilitate the true meaning of volunteering and regain the trust of people in a constructive and appropriate manner. The sooner this happens the better for all those involved.