Twin adds volunteering to UK portfolio
Language and employability skills provider Twin has launched a volunteering program to meet demand for work experience after Brexit rules took away opportunities for European students.
The volunteering program, lasting up to six-weeks, is open to any students on standard, six-month UK visitor visas, and offers experiences in retail, the arts and culture, administration, sports, animal care, marketing and more.
“The level of demand for internships for the UK has remained high despite Brexit, but the available routes to come to the UK to gain experience have been seriously limited,” James Ong-Fox, project manager at Twin Group, explained.
Pre-Brexit, under freedom of movements in the EU, students from the continent could come to the UK to work. Embassies in London have previously raised the issue.
“The opportunity under the standard visitor route to volunteer for up to 30 days can in many ways offer a replacement experience to that of an internship,” Ong-Fox continued.
Soft skills, such as communication and interpersonal skills, are obtained during internships with charities and non-profit organisations.
The company noted that the program is open to any student with a standard visitor visa.
“Any student that comes to the UK, even if they are not from Europe, with the Standard Visitor visa, can volunteer in a non-profit organisation for up to six weeks,” Selim Kivcak, sales operations team leader at Twin Group, told The PIE.
Students at Twin’s Eastbourne and Greenwich schools can join volunteering placements, with the London location offering experiences in retail, the arts and culture, administration, sports, animal care, marketing. Eastbourne is more limited, with specialist retail opportunities available.
“We are finding growing awareness about the possibility to volunteer in the UK”
In 2022, the program saw over 450 volunteers and numbers are expected to grow.
“Compared to Ireland, our internship numbers are lower in the UK (we had over 800 interns come to Dublin in 2022) but we are finding growing awareness about the possibility to volunteer in the UK has resulted in more students coming back to London after the drop in demand due to Brexit,” Ong-Fox explained.
The provider has always sought to “grow opportunity” for customers, be that in a Turing program in Spain, language students completing short careers skills courses or university students seeking experience in companies, he continued.
“Parents and students are making big investments in their education, and have an expectation that they will be prepared for the work they are studying to do on graduation,” Ong-Fox noted.
“We focus on the soft skills that could change a person’s early career opportunity from average to extraordinary, by building skills and confidence through age-related career skills role play activities such as mock interviews, job search techniques and the all-important first interview experience.
“It’s about building confidence, skills and experience of the workplace side by side with academic learning.”