Mansfield MP Ben Bradley has called for programme of full-time voluntary civilian national service to be introduced for young people in Mansfield.
The MP held an adjournment debate on full-time social action and called on the Government to consider a pilot scheme in Mansfield to see if full time social action can improve the employability of young people.
Youth full-time social action is undertaken by volunteers aged 18-25, who volunteer for up to 40 hours a week from anywhere between 6 and 12 months on projects that support local communities.
The MP says working on a full-time social action project allows volunteers to immerse themselves in a new challenge and gain valuable skills.
He said: “It was good to have the opportunity to hold a debate in Parliament about volunteering and social action.
“My debate focused on the benefits of full-time volunteering for young people and asked Ministers to consider creating a Government backed full-time social action pilot scheme as a way of helping young people gain new skills and experiences and prepare them for work.
“I believe that with the right level of support available, young people would benefit hugely from having the option to join a full time social action project for a few months.
“It helps build up the real world experience that employers are looking for and allows young people to learn more about different industries.
“It can also help to restore a sense of civic pride and duty that sometimes I fear we’ve forgotten.
“Social action can be a good path for young people that are struggling to find work and I hope that the Government will consider what more it can do to support full time social action programmes.”
During the debate, the MP thanked volunteers in Mansfield and Warsop for their work with local charities including Framework, MIND, Mansfield wildlife rescue, the Beacon project, Hettys, NIDAS, The John Eastwood Hospice, the Shed youth club in Warsop and Woodhouse Community Development Group.
The MP spoke about the importance of young people getting involved in volunteering and the benefits of voluntary projects for learning new skills and finding a career path.
The MP has called for a greater focus on non-academic routes for post 16 education as he believes that too many young people are pushed down an academic route. In his speech he argued that full-time social action would be a good way of bridging the gap between formal education and employment and an alternative to apprenticeships for those looking to gain experience and give something back to their local communities.
Polling conducted by Censuswise in December 2016 found overwhelming support for a recognised programme of full-time voluntary ‘civilian national service’ for young people in Britain. Over 90 per cent of those polled think a recognised programme of full-time voluntary civilian national service should be on offer for young people in Britain. Over half of 16-25 year-olds polled say it should definitely be an option for them, and nearly a third would consider signing up for such a programme, if it had a proper Government-backed status.