‘That extra sparkle’: students’ experiences of volunteering and the impact on satisfaction and employability in higher education

Barton, Emma, Bates, Elizabeth ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8694-8078 and O'Donovan, Rachel (2019) ‘That extra sparkle’: students’ experiences of volunteering and the impact on satisfaction and employability in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43 (4). pp. 453-466.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2017.1365827


Research suggests that students entering higher education are doing so with greater expectations around their graduate employability. Students’ volunteering activities have been of interest to academics, but the impact of these activities on learning, employability and student satisfaction has been neglected. The current study investigated whether students who volunteered felt it benefited them, whether they felt they were more employable and whether they perceived their course as satisfying in combination with their volunteering. This small-scale qualitative study used a sample of psychology undergraduate students in focus groups (n = 11), and also a number of psychology graduate interviews (n = 6) from one UK university. Thematic analysis produced several key themes including students’ motivations to begin volunteering, which were mainly career-oriented; their motivations to continue, which included rewarding feelings and personal development; the impact of volunteering on their psychology degree, which included situated learning; and their perceptions of their volunteering and its impact on their employability. The findings indicated many reasons for both starting and continuing with volunteering activities with a clear narrative among this sample that volunteering enhanced their employment and postgraduate prospects. Findings are discussed in line with the current context of higher education and the implications for both students and higher education institutions.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Journal of Further and Higher Education
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1469-9486
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Applied Psychology and Social Studies
Depositing User: Elizabeth Bates
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 15:57
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 09:00
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3182


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