For almost every volunteer role there is going to be an element of training even if it just explaining how the printer works.
For some roles you will need to provide more extensive training in order for volunteers to be able to complete their tasks. What’s the best way to approach this:
- Explain your expectations to volunteers so they are not surprised by the amount of training required.
- Ensure volunteers are making notes or are given explanatory sheets they can refer back to.
- Enlist your current volunteers as trainers or buddies.
- Do they need to learn the whole system at once or can it be broken into segments allowing them to get started on something useful fairly quickly? Volunteers that feel they haven’t done anything useful will lose motivation.
Some organisations will be in a position to provide formal training and even qualifications.
There are pro’s and con’s around this:
Great incentive to volunteer with you.
Can help to ensure high standards in the service you provide.
Builds consistency within your service.
Helps to develop the skills and confidence of your volunteers.
Supports your volunteers to reach their potential and move on to new things.
Maybe the only reason people volunteer with you, they might disappear once the training is complete.
Could put some volunteers under pressure.
Could take up your time to provide the required support.
Might cause tension between volunteers that take up the offer and those that don’t.
Warning: Only provide training that supports the volunteer’s role and try not to set out requirements such as “volunteer for 25 hours and you’ll receive £150 worth of training”. Training can be viewed as payment, as such it could take your relationship into uncomfortable territory in terms of avoiding employment contracts.
Having said that, the Volunteer Centre Croydon fully supports offering volunteers appropriate training opportunities. At our recent Volunteer Co-ordinator’s Forum we heard from Jane Innis of the Learning Curve Group. They are providing FREE level 2 training for staff and volunteers on a wide range of topics such as Business and Administration, Understanding Young People’s Mental Health, Understanding Safeguarding and over 25 others. This training is available to anyone aged 19+ and EU resident for at least 3 yrs. Definitely worth checking if it would suit your volunteers.