Volunteer development

From Our Toolkit

The type and level of training you provide will largely depend on the skills required to carry out tasks they will be doing, the resources you have available and the number of volunteers you need to train.

Many volunteers stay with an organisation because of the opportunities it gives them to learn new skills and gain knowledge and experience.

Identifying training needs

To help to identify training needs the Cheshire Museums Forum: Skills Audit Resource can be used to assess the skills of a new volunteer, as part of a regular supervision meeting or with groups of volunteers.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Volunteering Guidance identifies 3 main ways of delivering training:

  • On-the-job-training where a member of staff or another volunteer shows new volunteers how to do the task, and supervises them as they do it. 
  • In-house training where in-depth knowledge about issues or tasks is necessary. For example, volunteers working with vulnerable people might need detailed training on setting boundaries and protection. You will need resource to develop a course as well as people who are confident communicators and are up-to-date on the law and best practice. 
  • External training where volunteers attend an open public course or you use a trainer to run a course for your organisation. 

Formal training recognition

Some volunteers might be interested in gaining formal recognition for their training in specific skills through accredited learning or completing vocational qualifications.

There are also specific schemes available that encourage young people to volunteer such as the Youth Achievement Award and the Millennium Volunteer Scheme in Wales, and the Saltire Award in Scotland.

Sources of training

There are various sources for training, some have been identified in this toolkit, for example, e-learning packages and webinars covering a range of themes and topics. 

  • Local volunteer centres are a good source of training and support. Use the NCVO’s Volunteer Centre Finder to find your local centre.

For museums:

  • Each region and/or nation has a Museum Development provider they offer a wide range of resources, training, advice and support. You can find out who yours is through Museum Development United Kingdom.
  • Local forums or museums groups. Your museum development provider is a good place to start to find out what is available in your local area. For example Museum Development Yorkshire has a list of local Museum Forums, and Museum Development South East has a list of networks.
  • Subject Specialist Networks are also a good source of training and support.

For archives:

Each nation has sector support agency offering a range of support including training events and workshops.

This toolkit contains lots of links to training resources throughout the topics especially in the Collections and Learning sections.

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