The Skill Based Volunteer Training Programme (SBVTP)
What is the Skill Based Volunteer Training Programme (SBVTP)?
The Skill Based Volunteer Training Programme (SBVTP) offers the opportunity for volunteers to undergo training within an organisation so as to maximize their capacity, develop new, latent and/or dormant skills and to facilitate their involvement within the local and wider civil society.
The SBVTP is a training programme that enhances the qualities, skills and competence of the volunteers across a range of opportunities, operating under direct and/or indirect supervision. The programme is premised on three principles. The first is that those who engage volunteers are able to support the volunteers; secondly, that volunteers enter a particular working ‘environment’ that has particular codes and practices, all of which will need to be understood in order to get the most out of the ‘experience’; thirdly, that all volunteers are motivated to give their time and in so doing bring with them particular strengths and skills, which can go unrecognised (i.e. their ‘leadership’ competence). Furthermore, the experience should enable new skills to be developed . Fig 1 provides a useful diagrammatic at-a-glance overview.
In broad terms, the training programme seeks to explore understandings and skill development including, for example, organisational management, planning, communication and teamwork. It is envisaged to be fun, practical and reflective with no formal entrance qualification requirements or final examinations to sit. Other than the introductory sessions, the overall programme is experiential and developmental.
1. To develop participant’s skills in planning, delivery and evaluation of projects;
2. To develop fund-raising and event management skills as a team member within the organisation of choice;
3. To introduce and stimulate the development of research and needs analysis skills within participants;
4. To provide opportunities to explore own career pathways as well as better understanding of the qualities and competences required to work within the particular volunteering setting.
Fig 1: Programme overview
The programme comprises:
1. Management of volunteers
2. Understanding the organisation
3. Communication and presentation skills
4. Planning and evaluating an event
5. Organising a fund-raising event
6. Monitoring and evaluating the volunteer programme
7. Placement experience: presentation and/or fund-raising event
The Shane Project: a case study
In February 2012 The Shane Project secured funding from the Enfield Youth Service’s Area Youth Forum to pilot an outreach volunteering support provision. The first programme took place between April and May 2012 (see report).
The aim of the programme was to train young people in presentation and communication skills as part of the Shane Project’s Outreach Awareness Programme (OAP) to highlight amongst young people, in particular, the impact and implications of living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). FW Business Ltd was approached to pilot the training programme, which would equip the participants with the necessary key skills as volunteers within the hosting organisation.
As a result of the success of the first programme, the Youth Service supported a second programme through the Shane Project which took place between October and December 2012. The second programme built on the lessons of the first and introduced alongside the OAP objectives the opportunity for young people to contribute to the fund raising efforts within the project by being trained as ‘fund raisers’ (i.e. Fund Raising Activities Programme - FRAP).
The aim was to train a group of young people between the ages of 16 – 25yrs to deliver a series of presentations and/or workshop sessions in schools, colleges, community-based organisations and youth centres/projects as part of the OAP and to deliver a fund raising event or campaign in support of the Shane Project as part of the FRAP.
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Overwhelmingly participants reported that they felt more confident and found the programme valuable. 100% of participants rated the communication and presentation skills component as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Before coming on to the programme participants reported not feeling confident in giving public talks or formal presentations. Participants indicated that they wanted to improve their communication skills and especially presentation skills. Arising from the Brick Wall evaluation exercise, participants reported that they found the programme helpful in a number of ways including:
- The importance of being organised;
- Being able to see and reflect on own communication and presentation style;
- Being able to see themselves as others see them, especially when giving public talks;
- The importance of ‘practice’ to their own understanding (e.g. the Implication of Living with MS homework task).
Comments such as the following provided further evidence of key areas of learning:
- Talked to family and friends about MS
- I am more understanding about the conditions of MS
- My presentation skills have changed after the programme. I now have a better understanding and I know what to do next time.
- Learned a lot about MS which I didn't know about before.
One of the outcomes of the first programme was recognising the role of young people in supporting the fund-raising strategy of the Shane Project (and other organisations for that matter). Participants planned and pitched a fund-raising ‘group project’ to the senior ‘Management Team’ of the Shane Project. The following comment aptly summarised what participants told us they got out of the training:
“Helping [us] to fundraise so that [we] can help others as well as ourselves “