The summer is here and the school holidays stretch away ahead of you!  If you’re a parent of teens, what are you going to do with them for six weeks?

There’s a case for encouraging them to take up a part-time job – they’ll learn about the working world and earn some cash and working in the local burger joint or in a clothes shop will add a line or two to their CV.

There are other options though.

Many charities have opportunities for teens of 16+ and volunteering for a charity is something that can make a significant impact on a young person’s CV.  It demonstrates social conscience and some charities will give youngsters opportunities to explore job roles they wouldn’t get access to any other way.

In most areas there are organisations to match potential volunteers with suitable charities and not-for-profit organisations.  Get your teen to contact the local Agency for Volunteering.  Local Volunteer Centres can be found via the NCVO website.  However, if they enter volunteering and their location all kinds of opportunities pop up.

Some charities aren’t geared for under 18s, but there are some that have a young people’s programme.  It’s not all about collecting money in buckets either – the opportunities are diverse from managing social media communications to working on sailing ships.

For 15-17 year olds there’s the National Citizen Service too.  This starts with a five-day away from home programme of activities including canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling, followed by a second 5 days in a University-style situation to learn about life skills including self-confidence, teamwork and leadership and communication, then the teen gets to use their skills to work in a local community project working with a team.

The programme runs for 4 weeks with breaks between the elements and costs £50 including accommodation and food as well as all the activities.  Your teen will blossom and you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing where they are and that they’re not at risk (other from a ducking if they fall out the canoe).

The National Citizen Service programme is recommended by UCAS as something that rates highly in the personal statement University applicants have to submit.  The programme is known for opening doors to work placements and volunteering opportunities at events and on projects.

If your teen enjoys their volunteering they can always go on to do a degree in fundraising (now available at the University of Chichester).