Speed dating at Jobcentre Plus

Dave Thomas, NCVS Volunteering Development Officer, was asked into the Jobcentre this week to spread the word about the benefits of volunteering. 

When I received an email telling me about a speed dating event, I was intrigued but not very interested. Then I discovered that Jobcentre Plus had proactively reached out to a few organisations in the VCSE sector to meet with job coaches and advisors. I saw an opportunity to represent the hundreds of organisations that involve volunteers and that we support.

So I ventured into the Parliament Street Jobcentre with the NCVS banner and a handful of leaflets and set up, alongside a few other VCSE organisations. I was surprised when, just before 9am, around 50 or so people started to congregate and divide into six groups. When the whistle blew, I gave my first presentation to a group of advisors and coaches. Each time it blew, another group of people appeared, and I ran through the same information again.

I was able to tell them that NCVS supports organisations and that my own role is primarily in supporting Leaders of Volunteers. This includes helping to maintain a database of around 300 active opportunities divided into a huge variety of categories, because volunteers really can do anything.

I talked about why volunteering can support the employability journey, but I also stressed that it is a two-way process. Organisations want volunteers that help them, as well as those volunteers being helped to gain confidence, social and work skills, the discipline of turning up on time, and many more.

Each group listened very quietly but asked some insightful questions too.

Can volunteers get a reference?

Yes, after they have shown a commitment to volunteering and developed a relationship with the host organisation.


What about DBS checks?

I was surprised that they didn’t know that enhanced checks for volunteers are free (subject to admin fees). They know that now.


Can people volunteer with a criminal record?

Again, I said yes, depending on the role and the offence.


Every member of Jobcentre Plus’s staff now knows about the NCVS website and the Opportunity Search Page. Are your organisation's opportunities on the site and up-to-date?

I'm happy to assist Jobcentre advisors in finding your roles and help you get them online. Contact me by email at davet@nottinghamcvs.co.uk or by phone at 07564 040767.



Date Posted
Dave Thomas Volunteering Development Officer at NCVS