Civilian Alternative Service and volunteering

Young man helps a man on a bed
Photo: Pexels

Civilian alternative service and volunteering are two fields, which are of great importance for Austria, and there exists a connection between them. Civilian alternative service alleviates considerably an entry into volunteering and influences in some cases even the career choice of the young men.

Around 40 percent of the young men in Austria opt for a civilian alternative service. During civilian alternative service the society and the young men themselves are profiting in many different ways. Moreover, there are also further, indirect effects. Young men acquire in the course of their civilian alterative service numerous competences, for example in the social field. Besides, civilian alternative service has also great influence on volunteering in Austria

Civilian alternative service is often an entry into volunteering

Almost half of all persons who live in Austria are engaged in voluntary activities. This commitment is very important for our social life and for the life in our society. Civilian alternative service plays an important role in this respect. A study of the Vienna University of Economics and Business on civilian alternative service has shown that about one third of the young men continue with their activities for their institution after their civilian alternative service. In concrete terms, about 26 percent are engaged in voluntary activities after their civilian alternative service, another seven percent start as full-time employees at their organisation. This connection is not by chance, because if you want to start as a volunteer, you have to overcome certain barriers. In most cases a training - for example as paramedic - is needed and you have to get to know the organisation first in order to be able to make a valuable contribution. Moreover, first of all the motivation and the decision for a kind of voluntary activity is needed. These entry barriers do not exist for those doing their civilian alternative service. As a result of their civilian alternative service they already know the organisation and they have already received the required training. Moreover, they gain by means of their civilian alternative service a natural access to the respective field of activities and, as a rule, also the motivation to make a contribution in this field, because they see that they can achieve something positive with their work.

Civilian alternative service can be decisive for the career choice

With some young men this motivation is even so strong that they decide to orient themselves occupationally towards this direction. As already mentioned above seven percent of those doing civilian alternative service start after their civilian alternative service as full-time employees at their institution. Over and over again young men are realizing also during their civilian alternative service that they enjoy and are interested in social occupations. Thus, they decide, due to their experience with civilian alternative service, in favour of a vocational training or an occupation in the social and health sectors. Without the possibility to get into contact with these fields during civilian alternative service such decisions would certainly be taken less frequently. Also in this respect our society, which suffers in total from a lack of labour force in these fields, profits.