Get your training accredited

Accreditation is the formal recognition of an individual’s achievements and is linked to an internal or external standard.

Getting your volunteer training programme accredited may be something that would be of benefit to your organisation and your volunteers.

You need to take into account the time and cost that might be involved.

What are the benefits?

The main benefits for volunteers are:

  • Motivation and challenge
  • Increased skills
  • Evidence that may help access to education, training & employment
  • Personal development
  • Recognition of their contribution

The main benefits for the organisation are:

  • Volunteers more effective and skilled
  • Improved retention
  • Easier recruitment of volunteers
  • Improved service

Resource implications

You need to be prepared for some costs if you are considering introducing accreditation.  These may include the following:

  • Awarding body fees: these will vary between awarding bodies and depending on the size of the award.  The main fees include candidate registration and certification. Your organisation may need to become an accredited centre for which there is an annual fee
  • Tutors fees: if you go down the external accreditation route you may need to pay for an external tutor to deliver part of your training. This is likely to be cost effective if you go down the customised award route.
  • Materials and resources: some awarding bodies make a charge per candidate for materials and resources
  • Set up costs for customised awards. This can be in the region of £5-10k. This will usually cover the costs of the awarding body to write and accredit the training. There may, however, be other costs involved in meetings and working groups to develop the award

You will also need to set aside time and resources for the following:

  • Candidates: for accreditation to succeed, the volunteer mentor or befriender must be demonstrating the skills required for assessment. The organisation will also need to keep records of activities which can be used to provide evidence for accreditation. Candidates must also be allowed time for training and to collect the evidence required for assessment.
  • Staff: one of the biggest issues for organisations considering introducing accreditation is allowing time for staff to be able to manage the award. Key staff will need to be trained in assessment and/or verification work depending on the nature of the award. There is likely to be administration and extra paperwork involved and ongoing development of staff will be required.