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Training volunteers

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Why train volunteers

It's your organisation's responsibility to make sure volunteers can carry out their role. Training is one way to make sure they're well prepared.

If their training is good, volunteers will feel more able to do their role. This is likely to make them want to continue volunteering.

Volunteers may be hoping to enhance their CVs or to develop new skills by volunteering. Training is often a way to meet this need.

For new volunteers, see our guidance on running a volunteer induction.

What training to give

You'll need to train volunteers on whatever they need to feel confident doing their role. This will vary depending on what they do and the skills and experience they already have.

Training can involve:

  • shadowing other volunteers or staff
  • reading resources
  • online workshops
  • formal lessons
  • external courses.

Support and supervision sessions also provide training opportunities. Here volunteers can think about their work and how they contribute to the organisation.

Some volunteers will take longer to build their skills and confidence. In these cases, make sure you continue to provide the training they need.

How much training to give

To decide how much training to offer, think about:

  • how much time volunteers have available
  • how they prefer to learn
  • what they need to be able to volunteer successfully
  • what resources you have, such as staff time, materials and budget.

Depending on your resources, volunteers may get the same training as a paid member of staff.

Keep training relevant and appropriate to the volunteer's role. This avoids taking up too much of the volunteer's time.

It also makes sure training isn't seen as a perk or reward, which could make the volunteering look like paid work.

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Last reviewed: 12 April 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021

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