The volunteer marketplace has never been so important, as people try and ensure they have the skills and experience necessary to keep themselves relevant.
This is the message from Furloughed Life, which was launched in April to assist workers on furlough gain more skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online platform recently expanded so it can also help people who have been made redundant and just graduated.
Manoj Ranaweera, founder of Furloughed Life and managing director of Techcelerate, comments: “Unfortunately, as we enter the fourth month of furlough, further business closures and more redundancies are inevitable. The harsh truth is there are not going to be enough 9-5 jobs to go around, and it will take years for the economy to return to growth mode. As we battle through this pandemic, the way we all work is going to change forever so it is vital that everyone does what they can to try keep themselves relevant.
“This is why we launched Furloughed Life, and why we have now extended it to include those who have been made redundant or just graduated. We firmly believe the volunteering marketplace is going to play a vital role in upskilling our workforce for years to come. As soon as the pandemic started, we had to change our focus for 2020 from building the next phase of Techcelerate to ensuring the survival of our tech company members. As customers slowed down buying new products and services built by our companies, their survival instead became the number one priority. Realisation that furloughed staff could help with this whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience led me to team up with Chris McCarthy and Ram Raghavan to launch Furloughed Life.
Chris McCarthy, from Focus 5 Recruitment adds: “Working in recruitment for the tech sector, I have witnessed first-hand the impact the crisis is having in terms of the numbers of staff being both furloughed and made redundant. With the subsequent and understandable fall in available roles it was clear a different approach to help the skilled workforce of the tech community was needed.
“The whole thought process of the Furloughed Life project is that there are some highly skilled workers out there who are unable to do any work for their employer whilst furloughed – a legal stipulation. This presents a significant challenge to some, specifically in terms of mental health. Some people love what they do and having that taken away from them could impact their wellbeing. By volunteering they are being mentally stimulated, helping a business in need and gaining new skills and professional experience. The skills and experience gained through these projects will certainly give any volunteers an edge in what will no doubt be a highly competitive (recruitment) market when things do start to return to normality. Who knows where this could lead for the volunteers!”