Every year in Ireland thousands of students from our universities and institutes of technology carry out over 100,000 hours of volunteering. IT Tralee and nine third level colleges have now joined forces to develop studentvolunteer.ie – a brand new online resource which matches students’ interests with volunteering opportunities. The portal is the first of its kind globally and aims to enhance students’ awareness of their role and responsibility in solving challenges such as homelessness, social exclusion and our ageing population.
“For me volunteering means taking time out and doing something in the hope it will help make a difference, however small, to someone else’s life. Knowing that my work is valued and in exchange getting the chance to observe happiness around me and to experience the same myself is wonderful.. Clodagh O’Halloran, BSc. Health & Leisure Studies (Physical Education), IT Tralee and player for Munster Rugby
Potential users include up to 100,847 (HEA 2015) students across all higher education institutions and up to 8,000 registered Civil Society Organisations.
Shortlisted for the 2016 THINKTECH awards, studentvolunteer.ie has been developed under the umbrella of the Campus Engage Network based at the Irish Universities Association. Students at IT Tralee can browse and apply for volunteering opportunities nationally or internationally; manage their profile and volunteering activity online; track volunteering hours; gain recognition and apply for volunteering awards.
The value of volunteering is recognised by the United Nations who have designated December 5th as International Volunteer Day (IVD).
Volunteering has numerous benefits for students and for society. Ireland’s new National Skills Strategy 2025 focuses on graduate attributes such as high level cognitive, leadership, entrepreneurial, analytical and interpersonal skills. Volunteering is an excellent outlet for students to test, refine and put these skills into action. These skills are very much valued by employers:
“In my role as Managing Director I am always looking for that potential employee that has an extra edge in respect to experience thus I would encourage all students to invest their time volunteering throughout their education and beyond. Niamh Daffy, IT Tralee Alumni, Managing Director CARA National Adapted Physical Activity Centre
Evidence shows that getting out and volunteering can improve individual mental health and well-being. Volunteering is also an excellent pathway for international students in Ireland to integrate into their communities and make new friends.
IT Tralee Photo Caption – Celebrating the launch of studentvolunteer.ie are Breffni Gorman (Special Olympics Ireland); Clodagh O’Halloran IT Tralee Student; Ann-Marie Bright IT Tralee Student; Suzanne Connolly (Barnardos)