ProVol is funded by
“ProVol is an European partnership between Germany, United Kingdom, Romania and Czech Republic. This partnership, coordinated by the German NGO Gemeinsam leben & lernen in Europa e.V., aims to develop an accessible, flexible and sustainable European model for training for volunteer coordinators and volunteers to improve the effectiveness of volunteering activities and the quality of the services they deliver. It is funded by the EU-program Erasmus +.”
Volunteering grants vital and valuable experiences to people who thus develop new skills und useful know-how. As a lot of these skills and work experiences are not only helpful in volunteering related activities, they are also useful in paid work (such as skills like time or project management, communication, PR work, and others) and therefore improve the employability of people volunteering. This way civic engagement can be seen as an important and powerful source of informal learning that constitutes a potential way into employment or to improve career prospects.
But usually these skills are acquired incidental, occasional or indirect, as most volunteer training are only related to specific objective of the volunteer position, and therefore are usually very specific. What are missing are more general trainings for skills development, to be more professional and efficient in volunteering. However, this is also a problem a lot of NGOs are facing: due to the financial crisis most NGOs get even less money than before, even if there services are needed even more and that their (economic) value is recognized. For this reason, in order to keep adding value to these fields, social organisations and institutions need to work more professional, efficient and effective, as resources are scare and tasks are much more complex and challenging.
With these facts in mind, the German partner organisation has already developed a training concept especially for volunteers and coordinators of volunteers. This training program aims at promoting professional skills and competences like for instance in the fields of team or project management. Although these skills should primarily help people to perform their voluntary work more economically and efficiently, training participants also benefit in terms of developing crucial employability competences and skills and acquire work references. (But of course professional volunteering, and being more professional as volunteers should never replace paid work!)
So this training is beneficiary on many levels:
a) for volunteers: it enables volunteers to work more effectively and task-orientated in their volunteer work and improves their employability, it offers disadvantaged people (e.g. unemployed, low skilled, and at the risk of social exclusion) a chance of not only participating actively in society, but gaining professional training and work experience for free.
b) for NGOs: it supports the volunteer work within NGOs as it is a way of bridging resource shortages, but also attracting new volunteers, as NGOs offer additional, work related free trainings, and is an good approach of the changing character of volunteering: volunteers are much more likely to undertake shorter and more project-based activities. It is capacity building of staff within the own organisation and is a successful way to the professionalisation of volunteering
c) for employers: recognising the value of volunteering as pathway of gaining work related skills and expertise of (potential) staff
d) for the general public: strengthening volunteering and therefore its value for society, increasing the participation of disadvantaged in society in a positive way and being important for social inclusion.
As the training program for volunteers and volunteer coordinators has been successfully implemented by the German partner and has proven its positive impact, a consortium of four volunteer organisations from Romania, Czech Republic, the UK and Germany has been set up, to develop this training further as a standardized training program for volunteering, pilot test it in different environments and with different target group across Europe. Altogether 80 volunteer coordinators, and 180 volunteers will be trained, and around 300 multipliers will be reached directly.
The main aim of this partnership was, to develop two training manuals “Professional volunteering”: one as a train-the-trainer program for volunteer coordinators and the other one for training volunteers, which is useful for all kind of volunteering. Throughout dissemination activities by the four partners and their national and international networking connections partners distributed the manuals across Europe, to support volunteering across Europe and enhance professional skills development of staff in NGOs and volunteers, especially volunteers, who are disadvantaged and with little or no access to formal trainings or work experience.
Die Absicht und Notwendigkeit in Waldkirchen einen Helferkreis aufzuziehen stand wie ein hoher Berg vor mir. Die Provolontariatsschulung half mir meine Gedanken zu ordnen, Ziele zu formulieren, und die notwendigen Schritte schon einmal in der Theorie durchzuspielen und durchzudenken. Außerdem hab ich erfahren wie sich Gruppe anfühlt, wenn man gemeinsam etwas entwickeln will. Erfahrungen zwischen Begeisterung und Streit, die mir dann in der Praxis sehr gut geholfen haben.
Anton Süß, Germany
Vor der Provolontariatsschulung hatte ich die Vision, in unserer Gemeinschaftsunterkunft in Waldkirchen Deutschtraining von Frauen für Frauen anzubieten. Aber wie ich das organisieren könnte, und ob ich mir das zutrauen sollte, wusste ich nicht. Im Kreis von Gleichgesinnten hat mir die Schulung nicht nur das nötige Wissen vermittelt, sondern mir auch das Selbstvertrauen mit auf den Weg gegeben mein Projekt ins Leben zu rufen.
Gabi Guadamillas, Germany
I have received so many useful information in the last few days that I feel it will take a bit of time for me to do everything properly. From the new things in the volunteer law to the volunteer management system, policies and procedures, there are many things our organization can improve in the way we work with volunteers, in order to be really professional in this field. I strongly recommend this training to all volunteer coordinators and volunteers. Event the organizations that have more experience can benefit and learn many things in this context.”
Simona Criste, Romania
“Taking part in the Volunteer Management Training was one of the most inspiring events in my NGO life. Alongside a group of determined young people, with more or less experience in the field, we went through team building activities, various approaches in working with volunteers, but also legal and financial aspect that were very welcome for people with less knowledge about how the NGO field works. My favourite part was, for instance, learning about the legal aspects of volunteering in my country. I consider this aspect to be very little known, by few people, and hence quite useful when applied in organizations. Even now, when I manage 90+ volunteers, one of the best things to motivate them with is to specify that there is a law that grants them work experience if they volunteer. I also enjoyed a lot learning about how to build plans, diagrams, and calendars, and about how to promote and make your organization visible. The trainers were very well prepared, and they worked and communicated with us quite easily, which showed that they are not only competent, but kind, empathic people, as well. I would highly recommend taking part in this training to anyone working with volunteers.”
Iulia Rosca-Dromereschi, Romania
I remember wonderful group of people, we went through well prepared training. I feel like this training ProVol is important for further education of volunteers coordinators, or for someone who is working in NGOs. The huge advantage was accessibility for interested persons. Daniela Kováčová, volunteers coordinator in KZ, a.s. – Nemocnice Most, o.z.
Daniela Kováčová, Czech Republic
Adéla Kašková, volunteer coordinator in Jirkov
Training course Management of volunteering I. professionalization of volunteering in region Ústí nad Labem has defined the key topics in education of volunteering, which everyone, who deals with volunteering, should focus their attention to. Each training day of the course, was full of new information and knowledge. Added value of the whole training was very well assembled a group of participants that support each other, and they added and exchanged their experiences. I'm glad I could participate in the training. It was very helpful to me to get an overview about current events on the field of volunteering. Thanks belongs once again to the entire team of trainers, who led the entire training on high level of professionality and expertise.
Adéla Kašková, Czech Republic
“I found the seminars really useful for my work. I get to organize a lot of volunteers in my day to day life, and achieving some practical background, on how to structure and coordinate the activities for them it was a very interesting and important point that I think this project offered me. The international approach was also an asset, since we had the opportunity to exchange good practices and methods withy a lot of people from very different backgrounds.”
Oana Muresan, Romania