The Conservation Volunteers delivered a Defra funded project to build capacity to involve more people in the environmental volunteering sector. This project was advised and supported by RSPB, National Trust, Woodland Trust, Canal and River Trust, YHA, Marine Conservation Society and National Parks.
Recognising that within the wider environmental and voluntary sector we hold a variety of resources, the aim of the programme was to use this wealth of existing materials to build learning modules that are relevant to the whole sector. Using the combined resource materials, and a mixture of face to face and online learning, we rolled out a programme that included Training the Trainer and Environmental Volunteering Modules (EVMs).
These were shared materials that can be used to deliver formal or informal learning to people in their own organisations or community groups. These modules are available for anyone to benefit from.
The choice of module topics included recruiting volunteers, fundraising, community groups, supporting volunteers and leading practical projects.
The resultant module materials can be used in a formal training course, informal gathering, workshop, meeting, open day, on site demonstration, online or any other opportunity to for people to learn a bit more about engaging with volunteers in taking action. The content was created to allow use by any environmental sector organisation of any size; it contains agreed generic information. There is no copyright.
The Master Classes (workshops and webinars), were designed to further enhance the support for environmental organisations and local community groups to address new barriers to volunteering and identify new methods to overcome these issues. The aspiration was that it further built connections and networks and enhanced the legacy of the work undertaken.
The programme evolved over the life of the project.
'Training the Trainer' was initial training for people new to delivering learning.
Within the environmental sector, we need volunteers to feel valued, learn new skills, develop their confidence and make a real difference. This doesn't happen quickly, or by accident. Volunteers need to be nurtured, coached and encouraged to develop.
TCV arranged a practical 'Train the Trainer' programme to support Volunteer Managers to develop training and coaching skills, in order to attract new and retain existing volunteers.
The Training the Trainer course was designed to be delivered over the course of one day with pre and post online elements. Initial feedback indicated that this was a helpful approach to developing training skills.