Transition to work

Volunteering provides people with opportunities to develop capabilities that employers value.

Volunteer South works throughout Otago and Southland to promote volunteering and supports organisations which rely on volunteers. Volunteering is beneficial not just for those organisations and the communities they serve but also for the volunteers themselves. In light of the impact of COVID-19 on the job market, Volunteer South worked with Applied Management student Hannah-Jane Calder-Wood to explore how they might facilitate volunteers gaining soft skills, or capabilities, that would help them secure employment.

Hannah's background research confirmed that employers value soft skills. She surveyed volunteers about the soft skills they had developed through volunteering. The volunteers confirmed that volunteering did help them gain soft skills, and they considered it would help them gain employment.

Hannah recommended ways that Volunteer South could facilitate volunteers' acquisition of soft skills:

  • Running an event with a guest speaker on the topic of which soft skills employers value, giving volunteers options to spend half a day volunteering, and providing a structured opportunity for reflection by volunteers on what they learned in the process
  • Giving people the chance to try out volunteering options before committing would help with motivation and identification of the most suitable and enjoyable option
  • Collaboration with schools and tertiary institutions to help students transition into the workforce.


February 2021

Image credit: Business students, Otago Polytechnic, used with permission