National Association of 
Voluntary Services Managers

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

Training Opportunities & Career Development

This section provides information about what training is available to VSMs and how they can develop their careers.

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 (NOS). The NOS for VSMs document quite long and so it is not the easiest of documents to navigate around (or very suitable to print).
The National Occupational Standards (NOS) 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:
  • DBS updates
  • Volunteering and the Law
  • Safeguarding 
  • information Governance
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Conflict resolution
These 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.