SMART Volunteering_Learner Pack- Business Organisations

3 INTRODUCTION ccording to the European Institute for Gender Equality, 41% of women born in countries outside of EU were at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2014 (EIGE Report, 2016). In 2015, migrant women’s population in the 'active labour force' was recorded to be at least 16 % lower than the employment rate of women with EU nationality. Many third country nationals (TCN) in Europe are overqualified or over-skilled for their jobs and women tend to have particularly low employment rates. Even though they are more educated than migrant men, they experience more deskilling than other women and migrant men (EIGE Report, 2016). Their skills and qualifications are not completely utilised. Related to these, a special focus on migrant women’s labour integration has been found indispensable in the EU Action Plan for Third Country Nationals adopted in 2016. Interest in migrant volunteering has been rising in the European countries even though it has not yet received full recognition. Promoting immigrant volunteering has been on the agenda of many EU states since they have realised the potential and advantages it might bring. The need to provide immigrants with voluntary work opportunities has also been referred in the Common Agenda for Integration adopted in 2005. However, ‘Immigrant volunteering’ has been mentioned mostly in relation to ‘increasing civic participation, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue and cultural awareness’ (Handbook of Integration for Policy makers and Practitioners, 2010). Apart from social added value of volunteering, there is an important element that remains to be explored today - skills and competences volunteers can gain through volunteering. It is an important step towards sustainable employment. A