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Qualifications for volunteers


I am the Volunteer Co-ordinator for a Hospice - we are trying to increase the number and range of our volunteers. Given that we cannot offer NVQs because they are not employees, is there any equivalent qualification or stage of a qualification which we could offer to attract volunteers? We use volunteers in a number of ways at the moment - in our In Patient and Daycare units, as drivers, on our Reception desk, for clerical work and in our charity shops. Any ideas please?
Karen Hickmore

8 Responses

  1. NVQs & other qualification opportunities
    Suggest you talk to your local TEC or your Local Authority Lifelong Learning team about this – many colleges offer NVQs for people who are unemployed, I can’t see why you feel NVQs are out for volunteers (we use NVQs for foster parents who are volunteers). You could also find out about your local contact for the Open College Network, the Open College can accredit your existing learning programmes.

  2. re : NVQ’s

    I thought NVQ’s were out because that is what the chap at my local TEC told me! I obviously got someone who didn’t know what they were talking about. I will try again to see if I can get more sense!

    Karen Hickmore

  3. Arian Associates Ltd
    Of course you can offer NVQ’s.
    The volunteers do not have to be employed by you, they only need to demonstrate their competency in their volunteer roles – whatever they are.

    If you don’t want to go down the NVQ route why not short courses

    email [email protected] for more info

  4. Community Volunteers Award
    ASDAN, based in Bristol, offer the Community Volunteers Award which is ideal for some Volunteers.

    There are also a number of Mentoring training packages available.

  5. courses on NMVF website
    Dear Karen

    As already explained, anyone can take an NVQ, and more NVQ’s are being “contextualised” just for this reason. As well as the options already mentioned, University of Wales Lampeter have a course in interpersonal skills for volunteers, which can be via distance learning and sometimes free.

    The National Volunteer Managers Forum’s site has details of this course, and others of relevance to volunteer managers. You could also get the National Centre for Volunteering’s info sheet on accreditation (about to be updated) or get some books on the options, details of which will soon be posted or I can send them to you direct. Best wishes!

  6. Qualifications for Volunteers
    Dear Karen,

    Check the Open College Network,( they offer many courses suitable for volunteers. Also, the University of Wales offers a foundation course for volunteers by distance learning.(

    Hope these help

    Trish Bradwell

  7. NVQ and Volunteers
    There is no reason why volunteers can’t do NVQ. However you need to be careful how you structure the course finances. You should avoid charging vols for training directly or indirectly. This can happen when orgs ask vols to contribute to training costs if they stop volunteering shortly after the course finishes. This should be avoided as it can potentially make the volunteers employees.

    Having said that I’m not sure that offering NVQ will increase the number of volunteers that you have. Maybe I’m missing the point but getting an NVQ isn’t go to make me more likely to become a volunteer driver. Perhaps, if the NVQ is clearly related to the vol work. That is not to say you should do it, I think it is an excellent way of showing vols just ho much they are valued.

    There has been lots of talk of qualification for vols in the vol press but I have not seen any evidence that it increases recruitment, but I am willing to be proved wrong.

    I think it will be more effective if you are able to diversify the range of volunteer posts and be innovative about how you recruit. There is so much demand for vols that the day of an odd poster and press release are gone, we need to be more innovative.

    Contact your local Volunteer Bureau and read some of the American literature on recruitment – it clearly doesn’t all translate to the UK but it will make you think.
    Good Luck

  8. Qualifications for Volunteers
    You seem to be making two point here as follows;
    1. Type of qualifications suitable for voluntary sector
    2. Funding of training
    As previously stated in an earlier message, National Open College Network qualifications are your best bet as these attract FEFC funding and are therefore free.
    Volunteers can also be encouraged to apply for the Government funded Individual Learning Accounts which will enable them to claim £150 towards the cost of any training from a registered provider. To open an ILA phone LearnDirect on 0800100900.
    If you are based anywhere around the East London/Essex region give me a call on 020 8593 6831 and I can put you in touch with a registered provider with charitable/not-for-profit status) who provide courses for the voluntary sector.
    regards, Jo Patten-Walsh


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