I am urging jobseekers to consider volunteer work to provide help to people and groups in need of support.
To do so they can avail of the Voluntary Work Option programme offered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
A person in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance is allowed to engage in voluntary work as long as the individual is genuinely available for and seeking employment.
I think this is an excellent idea. In particular it helps organisations and individuals who need volunteers or who wish to expand their activities.
We have many local voluntary organisations in Galway East who provide a great service to the community. They could provide an even greater service with more volunteers.
Volunteering also enhances the job prospects of the jobseeker because it broadens his or her experience and offers an opportunity to learn new skills.
The type of work that can be undertaken includes helping people who are sick, elderly or who have a disability and assisting youth clubs, sports groups, cultural organisations and local resident associations.
The work can by full-time or part-time subject to departmental approval.
Groups taking part in the Voluntary Work Option can be local or national organisations. Either the jobseeker or the group can apply for an application form at an Intreo Centre or Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection branch office.
A Deciding Officer in the Department will then determine if someone looking for employment can take up the voluntary work without affecting his or her entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit.