Today young people experience a world that is being significantly changed by large-scale transformations in education and labour markets. Youth, as a generation, is most affected by those changes, since they are more likely to reshape their ways of living in response to the conditions they face, which inevitably produce inequalities in their lives. Volunteering is one of their responses. This paper aims to discuss the generational motivations and attitudes of a group of 11 European young people to participate in a European Voluntary Service project during a period of one year. The data was collected through an ethnographic methodological approach conducted between 2013 and 2014 in a Youth Centre in northern Portugal. Results clearly indicate that young people have an instrumental relationship with volunteering, which is mainly focused on the individual benefits that they believe they will acquire in their personal and professional life. Volunteering emerges as an opportunity to escape and to overcome the persisting challenges and constraints posed by our society; namely unemployment and precariousness, both of which are on the rise amongst young generations around the world.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited