The role of volunteer experience is especially critical for those trying to break into the workforce, such as newcomers who require Canadian experience or youth with little, if any, work history.
There is a national, skills-based volunteer program, PREB, where organizations can both attract more people to volunteer and help them seek employment with the skills they demonstrate. This program gives volunteers a credible, skills-based certificate they can present that highlights their skills with language that is meaningful to employers. Voluntary organizations have a new tool to attract volunteers, and at the same time, business and education officials have a clear, consistent means to assess a candidate’s volunteer experience.
This certificate can also make volunteering a more enticing option for youth who are looking to make a stronger case for admission into post-secondary education or training programs, or when applying for bursaries and scholarships. Anyone who uses any skills that can be transferable to paid employment or as a stepping stone to educational opportunities can earn a PREB certificate. The intent is to help volunteers be able to make the case for why they stand out in a crowd of candidates. Youth, newcomers to Canada and people making career changes are among those who can benefit most.
If your organization seeks more volunteers, is looking to take its volunteer recognition up a notch, or both, it should consider getting some staff trained on the PREB Ontario system. That’s as easy as contacting your local Volunteer Centre and investing a couple hours of your time. Then you’ll be ready to start presenting PREB certificates to your volunteers.
If your organization is not yet a member of your local Volunteer Centre, this is a great reason to explore becoming one. Access to the PREB system can provide your membership even more value.
Get involved now so your volunteers can benefit from skills-based volunteer recognition!
Cody began his experience in the volunteer sector at the age of 7, when he would volunteer alongside his parents during the annual Niagara Wine Festival. Since that time, he has gone on to continue his work with the Niagara Wine Festival annually, as well as volunteering with Ontario March of Dimes, Kids Help Phone and the Independent Order of Foresters. Cody completed his BA, BEd and MEd at Brock University . In 2012, he began working at Information Niagara with the ChangeTheWorld-Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge. This role soon expanded to include coordinating the Volunteer Connections program. Volunteerism is where his passion lies and he is currently the PREB-Ontario Project Manager, a project sponsored by the Government of Ontario as part of the Pan/Parapan Am Games Legacy Initiative.
Editor's note - this is an updated version of an article from 2015 announcing PREB Ontario.