Case study: VInspired

“Hiring apprentices helped us to further our mission”

V•Inspired is the UK’s leading volunteering charity for young people, helping them make their mark on the causes that they care about, whilst learning new skills and talents along the way. It has been using Step Forward to recruit apprentices since 2014. They feel that recruiting apprentices helps them to keep in touch with their mission of giving lifelong skills to young people.

Since its inception it has created more than 1 million volunteering opportunities for young people aged 14-25 across the UK, and last year it helped 31,439 young people do 460,611 hours of voluntary work.

Charities and other good causes that use V•Inspired to find young volunteers range from charities like the British Red Cross and Sue Ryder to Whizz Kidz, The Rugby Football Union and the British Heart Foundation.

V•Inspired’s website at the centre of how V•Inspired matches volunteers with good causes, and also ensuring the effective provision of customer support to the website’s many users.

A good fit
Dulkharnayn Ashkir (known as “Dulky”) joined V•Inspired through a one-year Step Forward Business Administration apprenticeship in September 2016 aged 18, having just completed three A Levels.

Johnny Souton, Project Coordinator, said: “The Customer Support role fitted very well with the apprenticeship programme, and as a youth volunteering charity having a young person dealing with enquiries goes down very well with our users too.

We have found having a young apprentice hugely valuable. For instance, we have a 48-hour target for answering enquiries, and Dulky smashes them.”

The initial onboarding included a hand-over with the previous post-holder as well as meeting people around the organisation and spending time with our marketing, finance and knowledge & innovation teams.

Dulky has been supported to take on responsibility for providing high quality customer service across V•Inspired’s main online channels, making him responsible for answering questions from its website’s users – 13,000 volunteers and 4,500 charities.


Young & enthusiastic talent
In addition to being the “go to” person for the volunteers and charities, Dukly also administers the registration process for new organisations, and gets involved in projects. Via his role he has provided invaluable insight for the website redesign, from the customer knowledge he has gained from his interactions with V•Inspired’s clients.

Souton says: “This is the third year running we have worked with Step Forward, and I would urge other organisations to open their doors to an apprentice. Apprenticeships are a great way of introducing young and enthusiastic talent with fresh ideas into the workspace, while giving them vital work experience and on the job training.

“V•Inspired prides itself on giving young people the opportunity to gain lifelong skills that will help them succeed in life. Apprentices bring so much value to V•Inspired as young people are at the heart of everything we do, and we also know just how important apprenticeships are to the young people of today.”

Pathway to a successful career
Dulky was still considering whether to proceed to university or to go straight to work, and hoped the apprenticeship would give him valuable and practical work experience while also developing skills for the future. He had not previously considered the charity sector as a career direction, and has found working in a charity very inspiring.

Dulky said: “During my apprenticeship here at V•Inspired I have learned that university is not the only pathway into a successful career. By doing an apprenticeship you will be able to pick up on different skills in a working environment that you will not necessarily get from being in a classroom.

“Having been through the apprenticeship, I would strongly recommend that other school students should seriously consider it. It allowed me to add something extra to my CV, setting me apart from others.

My time here at V•Inspired has also opened my eyes to the world of volunteering and social action and how vital that is in shaping the future of young people for the better.”

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