Qualifications to Gain From Volunteering
Volunteering offers many rewards including the chance to make new friends, to gain new skills and experience and to find fulfilment by giving something back to the community. It can also offer a path towards employment and provide an opportunity to gain new or further qualifications for your personal development or as a route into a new career.
NVQs/SVQsIn many kinds of volunteer role you may be eligible to study for an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification), SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification) or similar qualification. NVQs are practical work-based qualifications which you can earn as you learn by being assessed on your experience. You can work your way through different levels and even choose to specialise. Levels range from 1 to 5 with 5 being a professional or managerial qualification. Some organisations may be able to support you as you study or alternatively you can contact the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority or Directgov for further guidance on what is available.
Social CareIf you are volunteering as a carer or in the social care field then it is well worth considering an NVQ in Health and Social Care. This can be a good grounding for moving into a career as a carer, nurse, health professional or social worker. You can even choose to specialise in adults or children and young people.
Advice and GuidanceIf you are working in a role giving information or advice such as volunteering in a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, debt advice agency or housing association then you may want to consider an NVQ in Advice and Guidance. This is also a suitable formal qualification for anyone acting as an advocate for others.
Youth WorkVolunteers who work with young people (aged 11-25) could be eligible to study for an NVQ in Youth Work. This is a highly respected qualification for youth support workers.
Management of VolunteersIf your role involves you in the management of other volunteers then you could consider an NVQ in the Management of Volunteers. This qualification will recognise your competence in this area and is an excellent foundation for a career working in the voluntary sector. You could also consider a more general NVQ in Management as well which could open doors for you in a wide variety of fields.
Learning, Development & Support ServicesThis NVQ at levels 3 and 4 offers the opportunity to specialise in mentoring and is an ideal qualification for anyone acting as an advocate, coach or mentor for an adult or young person.
There are dozens of other NVQs available for you to consider ranging from counselling to project management. Each one will help you demonstrate your competence in the area to others including future employers.