Thursday, 23 May 2013

Managing Volunteers in RCT

Ryan Bevan, our Get IT Together Project Co-ordinator is training 35 young volunteers to help deliver digital inclusion in RCT. Working with volunteers presents a variety of challenges, and the additional element of introducing younger volunteers introduces another range of issues including recruitment, training and management. Ryan has built in additional training and support for these young volunteers and encourages shadowing and mentoring to enable them to become confident enough to deliver sessions.

Ryan has found that after registering an initial interest in volunteers and undergoing training, some were not reliable and were not committing to the delivery sessions as they had agreed. To overcome this, he now holds a volunteer briefing each week. This allows new volunteers to find out about the project and the benefits of being involved. Volunteers then get to shadow Ryan or an experienced volunteer before committing to the project. This enables volunteers to make better choices and Ryan to ensure his delivery team are reliable and committed.

Ryan’s link with the Jobcentre Plus has been a positive partnership for his project. The Jobcentre are signposting both volunteers and learners to Ryan. He is making the most of this, by running regular sessions 2 days each week for learners and holding training sessions for new volunteers.

Ryan has had a steady stream of volunteers for his project, and the local college has offered Welsh Bacc students as well. However, the timetabling and restrictions that the college operate under, means that Ryan has had to wait to the start of term to co-ordinate dates that suit both students and his learners.

One of the early successes for the project is a volunteer finding employment. Ashley had completed the training with Ryan and had helped out at several sessions, whilst applying for jobs. He’s now been offered a job and has started working. Part of the project’s aims is to help improve employability skills for young volunteers and helping a volunteer into employment is a great achievement.

As knowledge of the project spreads, Ryan is being contacted by libraries, sheltered housing schemes and other community organisations to arrange training sessions. He plans to use his volunteers to take over session delivery so he can continue to build more partnerships. One of the newer partnerships Ryan is going to work with is Communities First. They are agreeing their cluster delivery plans at the moment and Ryan is linking in to their over 50s basic IT sessions.

Ryan works closely with the other Get IT Together projects across Wales and as part of a joint Adult Learners Week campaign, he is running IT drop in sessions in Tonyrefail this week. 

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