On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Austrian Volunteering Act, the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and the European Volunteer Centre (CEV) jointly organized a conference on current issues for volunteering in Europe.
The European Conference on Volunteering (Vienna) (ECVV 2017) was held on October 5th-6th and gathered 180 participants from across Europe representing the different volunteering stakeholders in volunteering (volunteering organisations, public administrations and universities). The three panels of the conference were developed in English, German and French (with simultaneous interpretation) with three different methodologies in order to involve the audience and promote the participation of all the attendees. The conference also counted with a Conference App that allowed additional participation via mobile devices.
The conference was opened by Mr. Alois Stöger (Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection – Austria) and Ms. Cristina Rigman (President of the European Volunteer Centre) who welcomed the participants and set the scene for the subsequent debates and discussions concerning the actual situation for volunteering in Austria and across Europe and the future perspectives and potential future developments.
Panel 1 was focused on the relation between volunteering and employability, analyzing risks, threats and opportunities in this field with the participation of different speakers from academic, public and associative sectors (this multi stakeholder approach was present in all the panels). The conference participants had the opportunity to go a little bit further into the relation between volunteering and employability in Panel 2, focusing on the promotion and development of employability via voluntary engagement whether that be full time voluntary service or free-time and part-time volunteering opportunities). Panel 3 focused on reflecting about the future of volunteering: challenges, trends, risks and solutions, new profiles of volunteers in a more communicated and digital world, mobility, non-formal education – all complex issues that need to be explored and understood in order to engage citizens as volunteers in the most appropriate way in order to get the best impact on society’s needs.