A DofE Award gives young applicants the edge but there’s work to be done to motivate more employers to look out for and value youth development programmes as part of the recruitment process. The DofE is therefore calling for more employers to recognise and value the skills and attributes young candidates with a DofE Award bring to the workplace as part of its DofE Skills for Business campaign
A DofE Award gives young applicants the edge but there’s work to be done to motivate more employers to look out for and value youth development programmes as part of the recruitment process.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has been chosen by UK HR professionals in a CIPD survey as the most recognised programme a candidate can reference during the recruitment process to demonstrate their volunteering experience.
More than a quarter of UK companies look for a DofE Award in applications when they recruit, above other recognition programmes. Evidence of volunteering is seen as a valuable asset for young people entering the workplace. In the same survey, 67 per cent of UK companies surveyed believed entry-level candidates with voluntary experience have more employability skills to offer than those who don’t; 82 per cent said volunteering develops team working skills, 80 per cent said communication, while time management and prioritisation, problem-solving, adaptability and leadership talent were also identified as key competencies young people with volunteering experience bring to the workplace.
However, while the survey results show that employers understand that volunteering fosters work-ready skills, they also reveal that the majority of employers still don’t actively look for this experience when receiving applications, choosing candidates for interview or asking relevant questions.
The DofE is therefore calling for more employers to recognise and value the skills and attributes young candidates with a DofE Award bring to the workplace as part of its DofE Skills for Business campaign.
A DofE Award helps cultivate a well-rounded individual with a broad range of strengths, not just through volunteering experience, but also through learning a new skill, improving fitness, planning and undertaking a wild-country expedition and going on a residential.
Leading companies including Amey, British Gas, DFS, ao.com and Halfords have already signed up to say that DofE Award holders have the skills for their business at www.dofeskills.org.
Ian Peters, managing director at British Gas, said: “British Gas has been supporting the DofE for nearly 10 years because we believe it can change young people’s lives. In doing the DofE they develop the skills we look for in our future employees – like initiative, and a determination to learn and progress in their careers. Customer service is at the heart of our business, so during our interview process we look for well-rounded young people who can relate to our customers and their lives. I’m committed to supporting young people as they develop the skills to get to interview, and I’d encourage employers to recognise the valuable skills and attributes of DofE Award holders.”
More employers are encouraged to sign up at www.dofeskills.org. Their support will be seen by DofE Award holders, helping them to identify companies and organisations that welcome their experience and giving them the confidence that their months and years of hard work and commitment will give them the edge when applying for jobs.
Peter Westgarth, chief executive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “Whilst we’re hugely encouraged that a significant number of UK employers recognise the important employability skills and attributes DofE Award achievers have demonstrated, we still have work to do to inform employers about the amazing achievements a DofE Award represents. We want every UK employer to understand the value of a DofE Award on an applicant’s CV and make the commitment to look out for young recruits with a DofE Award because they value the experience they have gained and recognise that their efforts make them great employees.”
 CIPD Learning to Work survey 2015