Volunteering can provide a pathway to gaining experience, qualifications and training that can help volunteers gain the skills and knowledge at a nationally recognised qualification.
Some organisations have the resources to support volunteers to gain formal qualifications and training as part of the volunteer experience.
Steps Organisations Can Take to Create a Learning Pathway for Volunteers
1. Identify the learning needs of your volunteers or potential opportunities for volunteers to receive qualifications.
One way you can do this is by asking your current volunteers what learning opportunities they would be interested in pursuing alongside their volunteer work.
2. Identify ways your organisation can support volunteers to learn while serving the needs of the community and furthering the mission of your organisation.
For example: Volunteering Otago needs volunteers to support the delivery of our Youth Volunteering Programmes. We thought a National Qualification in Youth Work would be appealing to our current and future Youth Programme Volunteer Assistants. We researched the options and identified that CareerForce Certificate in Youth Work (Youth Leadership) Level 3, 4, and 6 would fit nicely with our programmes. Upon further investigation we found that Level 3 would be the easiest option to start with and supported a paid staff member to become an assessor in the Level 3 certificate.
3. Identify qualifications and qualification providers that your organisation can partner with to help volunteers
There are many educational options available. Research what’s available in your area. Find out:
- The costs (both to your organisation and to the volunteers).
- The time it will take for the volunteer to gain the qualification.
- The time resource the organisation will need to committ to each volunteer pursing the qualification.
- What hands on experience is necessary for the volunteers.
- What supervision is necessary for the volunteers.
3. Design your volunteer programme in a way that will support volunteers to engage in a learning pathway.
- Consider the minimum length of commitment volunteers will need to make so that your organisation can support their learning pathway. What do you think is fair for the volunteers? What do you think is fair for your organisation?
- Review the application, screening and selection process for volunteers that will engage in the learning pathway.
- Consider the activities volunteers undertake in your organisation. How will you make allowances for volunteers so that the volunteer role is fulfilled AND the volunteer is able to pursue the qualification.
- Consider the amount of support your organisation will give to volunteers. Will you pay for some or all of their qualification? Will you provide the hands on experience they will need? Will you need to provide any form of supervision or assessment of the volunteers activities?
For more information, about creating or following a learning pathway for volunteers please contact us!
Volunteering Otago Learning Pathways
Volunteering Otago can support volunteers who help our Youth Programmes or Community Connections Programme to pursue the following options to gain a nationally recognised accreditation.