Some volunteers value the provision of training enormously, regarding it as an essential part and tangible benefit of their volunteering experience. In these cases, training will undoubtedly increase volunteer confidence and satisfaction.
However, others may not see the need for training, or even if they do, they may find the idea very off-putting. If this is the case, the need for training must be ‘sold’ with great sensitivity. In all instances, training must be well-planned and appropriate to the needs of the group or organisation and to the needs of the individual volunteer.
Why do we need a training process?
The training process takes time, effort and requires an input of resources. So why do it?
- Training demonstrates that the group or organisation believes in a high standard of work
- Training lessens the likelihood of mistakes and other problems
- Some group and organisations use training courses as a part of their volunteer selection procedure
- Training allows new volunteers to learn about the group or organisation and their specific tasks
- Training also allows existing volunteers to perform their roles better and to take on new work as the group or organisation changes
- Training gives volunteers an opportunity to learn about the political, social and economic setting in which the group or organisation operates
- Training can heighten personal skills and awareness, so the volunteers can function more effectively as individuals and therefore do their voluntary work more successfully
- It can also improve interpersonal and group awareness, so volunteers can both work more effectively with colleagues and deal more sensitively with the group or organisation’s client group
- Providing standardised training can ensure consistency in approach by different volunteers and continuity over time
- Training helps to minimise risk eg health and safety training