The “Volunteering as a pathway to employment" (VAPE) project ran between autumn 2012 and autumn 2014, and it involved thirteen partner organizations from eleven countries.
The main purpose of the project was to provide opportunities for volunteering for disadvantaged young people aged 18-30. The very essence of volunteering has been perceived differently from one country to another in the past. Thus, in Eastern European countries volunteering had an obligatory aspect, while in the Western Europe it was thought as the charitable act. Volunteering is considered nowadays as a powerful tool for improving one´s employability. The experience of voluntary activity, and especially if the volunteering is being done abroad, may be extremely enriching to the personality of volunteer. It may contribute to development of specific skills, gaining self-autonomy and raising self-esteem. These stimulating and empowering effects are undoubtedly of a great importance for the future job prospects.
One of the main project objectives was the attempt to improve the official recognition and validation of informal and non-formal learning acquired through voluntary work. The project equally aimed to promote a European voluntary work as a tool bridging the gaps between formal education, vocational training and the labour market. The volunteering activities promoted by the project were not compulsory and the societal-cultural factors were thoroughly examined before implementation of practices.
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