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Where to start with a training and personal development policy


I am the Coordinator of a small voluntary organisation providing a mediation service to neighbours in dispute. The organisation is still quite new, but recognises the importance of training and personal development for its staff and equally importantly our volunteer mediators.

We are keen to make sure we offer the best practice and monitor that it happens, so want to formulate a policy on training and development (perhaps also including supervision if that isn't too broad) I am not a specialist - where do i start ?

Help and examples would be very welcome.

Paul Bridges

4 Responses

  1. HR specialist with voluteer experience herself
    Inova Knowledge is a small HR and Training & Development practice which specialises in change projects/programmes for people. One of our directors, Sue Liburd, has provided HR consultancy support to other small organisations by developing and producing a complete HR quality manual that includes Training & Development and Recruitment policy and procedures as well as other employment law issues, such as the client’s compliance with the working time directive, fairness at work etc. She, herself, is also involved in voluntary work and you may find a discussion with her of value?..

    Please call me on 01234 391929 or [email protected] and will make an introduction if this is of interest..

  2. T&D Policy
    Yes, you should be able to include supervision. Our policy started with what happens or is available and then gives a little info on what that should mean in practice. For example, there’s a heading ‘types of t&d’ which lists things like induction, on and off the job learning, academic support etc. You could include supervision as a heading and add a couple of lines on it. Other things might include commitment and access, implementation and evaluation. You’re welcome to have a look at the one I’ve written for here if you like. E-mail me if you want a copy.

    Really important things for policy are to get the managers signed up to it before trying to implement it and not to make it so details that a little change in practice means you have to re-write the thing. It must be relevant to your place – don’t just copy someone elses.

    You may find it helpful to cruise HR websites – Big Dog might have some useful info. If your company has membership of IPD they have useful ‘how to..’ stuff too.

  3. hints for a T&D Policy
    In my experience, particularly for a smaller organisation – keep it simple but clear.
    1. Confirm the organisations commitment to training & development to ensure people have the skills required to carry out roles effectively.
    2. Specify who has responsibility for T&D (can & often does mean more than one person) and what each’s involvement is eg.MD,line manager/training coordinator etc.
    3. What investment is the co.prepared to make – time as well as money?. Will you fund Qualifications?
    4. Is any contribution required from individual?
    5. What are co.priorities eg. job related first, then personal devt?
    6. Any mandatory training for all – eg Induction, H&S?
    7. Answer Question. How do I get training – forms,authority etc
    8. Evaluation – how, why?
    9. Methods – courses,shadowing,coaching,projects,etc
    Hope this helps

  4. Consultant Researcher/HRD Practitioner
    My background: 20+ yrs of not-for-profit sectors and 15+ yrs facilitating adult learning in various environments.

    Outline the Organisation’s commitment to training and development and what that means in day to day practice. Say what you mean by training and development, who is entitled to it; and why the organisation condsiders it important.

    Give examples of t & d activities.

    What are the hoped for benefits from the scheme – e.g personal and job related.

    Who is responsible for initiation of the processes e.g who to contact in the first instance and who should do the contacting.

    How will T&D be supported – any workload priority adjustments etc ? What contribution is the employee/volunteer/employer expected to make e.g. in terms of time, money, resource, monitoring, supervision and feedback.

    Appropriate and adequate supervsion of the scheme and the learner is a must if you want the programme to stay on track with its initial aims and monitor perceptions of effectiveness/impact amongst learners and those not directly involved in the learning.

    Yes, t&d is compatible with supervision. My 20+ years experience of the not-for-profit sector tells me it is absolutely essential because you are less likely to have volunteers (or even paid staff) who arrive with the skill/knowledge/competence set that you require. And so your T & D is likley to be linked to remuneration and/or other performance development/management issues. Supervision is also part of the monitoring process.

    I suggest that you explore a collaborative approach to policy development because of its impact upon all those with responsibilities for organisational outcomes as well as learners. A policy which does not attract the support of most of those who are charged with implementing it, or reporting on it, is worse than no policy at all.

    Contact me if you want more input.


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