Volunteering can be the ‘icing on the cake’ for job-hunting university students.
Graduate Careers Australia data show that while employment prospects of new graduates have improved slightly in recent years, about one-third of the country’s recent undergraduates are still looking for full-time employment four months after completing their degrees.
In this sobering context, university students are discovering the importance of volunteering to distinguish themselves to employers, a long established practice in the USA (where it is called service learning) but much less common in Australia.
While many universities – including VU – imbed service learning into academic programs to develop career skills, Victoria University is one of the only one in Australia to do it as an annual whole-of-university commitment to the local community.
On Friday 13 October 2017 more than 400 Victoria University students and staff will volunteer at community projects across Maribyrnong, Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, and Moonee Valley in Melbourne’s West in the University’s annual Volunteer for You (V4U) Day.
The volunteers will fan out in teams to one of more than 30 projects where they will garden, paint, collect litter, make crafts or join in activities with community groups, the elderly, the disabled, and school children.
Now in its seventh year, V4U draws VU volunteers from all areas of study and all campuses, with the aim of building relationships between VU students, staff and academics, and the local community.
Student volunteers receive credit toward student leadership qualifications through the program, which has been nationally recognised for excellence by the Australian Association of Campus Activities.
Photos from V4U 2017 are available upon request.