Are you an employer struggling to recruit candidates?

With the ever-changing workforce and recruitment landscape, there is a lot of pressure on businesses to attract and retain the best talent. Recruiters can sometimes tend to focus on candidates with previous full-time work experience in the same or similar fields.

But what if you are missing out on amazing potential candidates because of that? Many candidates coming into the market with no paid work experience might never even try applying for your roles – but they could bring the right attitude and high levels of key soft skills. 


Youth work experience creates quality candidates

Youth work is an educational and developmental process based on young people’s active and voluntary participation and commitment. Every year, through youth work and volunteering, over 380,000 young people learn and develop core transferrable life skills: the skills that are relevant and needed in any job. 

Youth work and volunteering is immensely varied - young people can be involved in anything from youth leadership, to working in services for disadvantaged people, to community outreach, to international aid and advocacy,... and beyond.

And if someone has the ethos where they’re going to get up and do something for nothing, that’s the value system that shows you who will go the extra mile!


Did you know?

Skills acquired through participation in youth work and volunteering

  • Teamwork
  • Communication skills
  • Organisation skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability
  • Decision making
  • Drive and resilience
  • IT skills
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Interpersonal skills

Top soft skills in online job postings in Ireland, 2020

  • Working with others
  • Providing info and support to people
  • Supervising people
  • Liaising and networking
  • Solving problems
  • Organising, planning and scheduling
  • Leading and motivating

Based on data from

Kate Butler of LinkedIn, on how youth work helped her career development

How to recognise and evaluate youth work experience

Jobseekers often don’t know how to evaluate the experience that they have gained through youth work – sometimes, they don’t even realise that it is valuable information that should go on their CV. 

Skills Summary is a free online tool that can help. It was developed to support young people, by the National Youth Council with support from Accenture and SpunOut. 

Skills Summary is both a process and a product

  • As a process it aims to support young people’s development by helping them to map the learning acquired through their participation in youth work and other non-formal settings to a set of competences. 
  • As a product, Skills Summary supports young people to describe the competencies they have acquired both for themselves and potential employers.


Increase diversity and inclusion in your recruitment

It is widely recognised that diversity in employment is a crucial concern for businesses. Workplace diversity improves creativity and innovation, and is so important for staff engagement and satisfaction, as well as your business reputation. Using inclusive recruitment techniques can ensure that your business is reaching a more varied pool of candidates, and will help you to achieve your company’s diversity and inclusion goals.

Younger generations, particularly, care deeply about the values of the businesses they work for. Ethical employers who use fair and transparent hiring practices, have an advantage in today’s highly competitive job market.

Some meaningful ways that you can make your recruitment practices more diverse, are: 

  • Value youth work experience in the application process
  • Encourage applications from candidates with non-formal work experience
  • Support candidates by pointing them to tools that will help them measure and define their skills

Skills Summary can help you do that – read on to find out how. 


How employers can use Skills Summary

  • Encourage candidates to use the Skills Summary platform to develop their CV and application
  • Provide information on your job ads about welcoming candidates with non-formal experience, highlighting your commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Get the most out of your interviews by encouraging candidates to prepare with Skills Summary
  • Encourage your entry level employees, interns, and volunteers to use Skills Summary to evaluate and record their skills – good for personal professional development and staff satisfaction

Interested? Register your interest and we’ll send you some resources

Register your interest in Skills Summary for employers, and we’ll contact you when our free package for employers is ready to launch. This will include resources such as:


  • Information for you and your HR team on how to attract and evaluate candidates with non-formal experience
  • Suggested text to add to your website and job ads to encourage applications from candidates with youth work experience
  • Invitations to training sessions on Skills Summary and the value of youth work and volunteering experiences of candidates
  • And more…

Skills Summary is a partnership project between the National Youth Council of Ireland, Accenture and, funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and is free for employers and candidates to use.