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How much training to give volunteers?

Providing opportunities and managing risks, it is important to strike the appropriate balance.

Many volunteer-involving organisations run their own tailor-made training courses. Depending on resources available, volunteers can receive the same training as a paid member of staff. How much training volunteers may want to do is quite different and may depend on their reasons for volunteering.

Many volunteers will want to be confident that they are fulfilling their role well, while others will want to develop their skills as widely as possible, some may feel their experience is good enough or that they are too busy to attend training.

Here we look at the two extremes: too much training and no training.

Volunteering as a route to work

Volunteers who want to enhance their CVs may be keen to do as much training as they can. Voluntary worker provides useful links for those who want to develop their skills and abilities to get into paid work. 

Some large organisations provide full-time volunteering opportunities to develop personal and professional skills. These include:

However, what happens when a volunteer is only ever doing training instead of the role you recruited them to do?

Volunteer managers might use access to training courses as a 'perk' to encourage more volunteers or existing volunteers to do more. However, training must be relevant and appropraite to the role the volunteer is doing. Otherwise there is a risk that the volunteer may be considered an 'employee' with consequences for them regarding legal status, benefits, etc.

Further information is available from Volunteering England.

Useful links

Page last edited Jan 11, 2017

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