National Association of 
Voluntary Services Managers

Lead, promote and develop best practice in 
Volunteer Management in the NHS and Healthcare

Best Practice Policy Writing




Training is important in any role to help a volunteer or paid employee develop their skills and expand their capabilities.
Volunteer Training


Training for volunteers must be relevant to their role. If it is not relevant (for example Excel training for a ward based patient befriender) then it can be seen as a ‘perk’ in lieu of payment and you run the risk of creating an unwritten contract which as we saw in previous sections can have legal implications.

Volunteer Induction

Please refer to volunteer induction section for more information.


Volunteer Training for specific roles

Some roles will require volunteers to undergo specific, additional training, e.g. for community-based Befrienders for mental health or learning disability service users, those assisting with feeding. It is important that any such training is scheduled at days / times that suit the prospective volunteers.

Volunteer Training and Benefits

Volunteers may be given any training needed for them to carry out their roles. However, where volunteers are in receipt of State Benefits, the DWP will regard any additional, non-related training as Benefit in Kind, which may adversely affect benefit levels.


Volunteer Mandatory Training

Volunteers are not required to attend standard NHS mandatory training. Practices will vary from Trust to Trust regarding whether they may do so or are expected to by the Trust. However, as above, it is important not to discriminate against those volunteers whose work, study or other personal commitments make attendance difficult, if not impossible.


NAVSM have produced Guidelines for Induction, Statutory and Mandatory Training for Volunteers (2013) which can be accessed at the bottom of this webpage.

VSM Training

There are a multitude of training courses available to Volunteer Managers but a lack of clear information about what will be the most useful, relevant and whether or not the training is nationally recognised. This page seeks to give some guidance about the sorts of courses available.


What course should I choose?


This section relates to training that is specifically for Volunteer managers and is linked with the National Occupational Standards (NOC).


The NOC for VSMs document is 270 pages long and so it is not the easiest of documents to navigate around (or very suitable to print). There is however a summary document which can be downloaded. Both of these documents can be found on the following website:


The National Occupational Standards (NOC)for the Management of Volunteers forms the basis for all nationally recognised Volunteer Management qualifications. The qualifications are mapped against the key requirements of the Volunteer Manager role.


The most commonly recognised qualifications are:

NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications)

There are 3 levels for managers of volunteers. Level 3 is for those who directly manage volunteers on a day-to-day basis. Level 4 is targeted at those with overall responsibility for recruiting, managing and developing volunteers in their organisation or their part of the organisation. Level 5 focuses on developing and implementing the strategy for involving volunteers in their organisation’s work


  • EVM (Excellence in Volunteer Management)


  • CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development)


  • BA Degree in Voluntary Sector Studies (BA Hons)


There are however a multitude of accredited and non-accredited courses available around the country. For more information about which courses are accredited, go to the National Database of Accredited Qualifications: and Click on ‘Search for Qualifications’ and then ‘Browse Qualification by job Occupation’ and then choose ‘Volunteer Manager’.


The qualification you choose should reflect the area where you feel you require most training and / or the direction that you feel your role is progressing. For example: a CIPD qualification would suit someone whose role had links with HR and a CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketers) qualification would suit someone who was involved in the marketing of the volunteer service.


These courses tend to concentrate on the Management of Volunteers but do not cover other more skill based training opportunities that you might find useful and are perhaps more specific to your role. For example:


  • Mentoring skills
  • Interview skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Report writing
  • Project Management


In addition there are some specific topics that you may find useful to attend training for such as:


  • Disclosure and Barring (DBS) updates
  • Volunteering and the Law
  • Safeguarding
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Conflict resolution


These sorts of courses are often available from your own Trust or if not, then via other local voluntary organisations or Volunteer Centres.


Volunteering England has set up a ‘portal’ on its webpage which directs volunteer managers to training providers across the UK.