3 Induction and training
Induction is the process of introducing new volunteers (or staff) to their role, tasks, the skills required, the other people they will work with and the organisation. In small organisations and groups this might be a quick introduction, after which the volunteer is left to get on with their tasks. This may also occur in big organisations if the staff or volunteers responsible for looking after new volunteers are too busy or unaware of the importance of induction. However, it is important to settle new volunteers into their role so that they know what they are doing and feel comfortable. If you are a volunteer’s manager, try not to overload a new volunteer with too much information as they may find it daunting.
Activity 6 Your experience of induction
If you have had a volunteering role, did you have an induction session and, if so, what topics were covered?
If you have not had a volunteering role, what would you expect to happen in an induction session? (Imagine a role you would like to do.)
Julie Charlesworth describes her experience of induction:
As an example, in my first volunteering role I was shown where the facilities were, found out about health and safety, met some paid staff and other volunteers, and was given some information to take home to read. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. I was also given some basic training relating to my tasks.
In general, induction includes both general (organisational) and specific (role-related) information. Encouraging volunteers to ask questions is also important.
Induction usually happens on the first day. Training also usually starts on the first day and, depending on the role, may continue for some time.