Formalising a learning and development (career) pathway for managing volunteers, with multiple entry points and recognition of prior learning, enabling these skilled practitioners to gain recognition for their experience and skills has been a goal for VNZ over the past three years.
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The need for further learning and professional development opportunities has been cited repeatedly by managers of volunteers as crucial. There is a desire for more focused qualifications relating to managers of volunteers, flexible and affordable learning options and recognition of prior learning and experience. In summary, any learning options made available to managers of volunteers need to respect and reflect the diversity of our workforce, and that one size really does not fit all.
The key areas of VNZ’s work in this area have been:
Identification and development of key competencies for leaders and managers of volunteers
“A competency includes all the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values needed to do something”
Identifying what these are for managers and leaders of volunteers in Aotearoa New Zealand will provide us with the foundation for all further work in this stream.
Development of a centralised information hub for professional development opportunities
The searchable repository of learning and development opportunities for Managers of Volunteers across the country hosts opportunities that link to their location and/or the skill level they are aspiring to.
Development of an Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) system
One of the most-requested aspects of professional development for managers of volunteers is recognition of their prior knowledge and learning. The most important thing in this work is ensuring that there are choices available – that prospective applicants for APL know the option exists, that it is available at a variety of levels and via a variety of delivery mechanisms and that it is robust and accessible.
The idea behind these three key areas is that together they will provide people who are currently managing volunteers, and people who would like to, with a ‘pathway’ they can follow.