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For selfless, read selfish;FE Focus

A NEW study says voluntary workers have lost their altruism and are now more concerned about self-interest and how to improve their skills, writes Harvey McGavin.

A report on the study by the RSA has major implications for organisations recruiting unemployed people under the Government's New Deal, which offers voluntary work as one of four options.

It shows that young people are more concerned about doing their job well than gaining qualifications. The report, Qualified by Experience, looked at the 18-month pilot scheme of Project 2001, an RSA-backed initiative involving 25 voluntary projects in London.

However, volunteers agreed that a qualification enhanced their credibility with clients, increased their confidence and was likely to improve their prospects of other voluntary work, further education or employment.

Group leaders interviewed for the project said their prime concern was to develop and gain recognition for their training programmes and to improve the performance of their organisation. But none of them mentioned the potential for improving the education or career prospects of their volunteers.

Project 2001 is availble from RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London, NC2N 6EZ.

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