; Planning the Induction Process

An effective induction process needs to be planned and matched to the needs of your youth club/group and the volunteers. 

The following guidelines may be helpful in planning your volunteer induction process.

Priorities for new volunteers include getting to know the youth group members, leaders and volunteers, getting to know the organisation, and getting to know the role:

  • A welcome evening is an opportunity for new volunteers to get to know each other (and existing volunteers), at which they can share their experiences and support each other.
  • Have a look at the exercise Getting to know your youth group. This is a practical exercise designed to help new volunteers get started.

 

 Think about an appropriate balance between informal and formal learning:

  • Light-touch introductory sessions can provide opportunities for new volunteers to experience what’s involved.  This may take the form of taster nights.
  • A more structured induction training programme may be more appropriate (for example if your group focuses on specialist activities such as befriending or drugs and alcohol work).  In these cases a more intensive approach, such as a 2 day course, may be effective.  

 

Think about the different approaches to volunteer induction:

  • Some youth groups run training courses.
  • Some youth groups prefer learning on the job, such as shadowing where a new volunteer can learn from observing an experienced volunteer.
  • Some youth groups spread the induction programme over a number of weeks so that information can be better absorbed.

 

Make sure the induction process is accessible to new volunteers: 

  • Take into account the preferred learning styles of volunteer(s).  Some people will prefer taking handouts away with them to read, whereas others will be keen to take part in discussions or role plays, for example.  
  • Make sure that induction sessions are run at times which are convenient to the volunteers.

It is important to plan support arrangements to help guide the process. For example, some organisations involve existing volunteers as buddies. 

It is also important for new volunteers to have a supervisor or contact person who is responsible for their induction and is someone they can approach with questions or queries.  

Volunteer learning does not stop when the induction checklist is completed. It is important to think about how you will support new volunteers to continue their learning beyond induction.

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